The SmarK Rant for WWE Network: The Best of the APA
Here’s a totally random choice that jumped out at me for some reason, because sometimes that’s just what happens and it’s only 90 minutes long anyway.
Your host is Matt Camp. Who is Matt Camp? I dunno. He adds nothing and offers no context to any of this.
WWF tag team title: Kane & X-Pac v. The Acolytes (05.31.99)
This is from the infamous “Greater Power” episode of RAW, which I should probably go back and review someday. X-Pac hits Faarooq with kicks in the corner to start, so Bradshaw comes in and wants Kane. Kane slugs away, but Bradshaw fires back and clotheslines him to the floor. Kane pops back up to the apron and necks him, however, and goes up with the flying clothesline. X-Pac comes in and walks into the fallaway slam while Shane O Mac joins us because it’s been 3:00 on a Vince Russo show and we haven’t had a run-in yet. Bradshaw slams X-Pac out of a bearhug for two, but misses the Clothesline from Hell and X-Pac makes the hot tag to Kane at 3:30, which makes this an Iron Man match for the era. Kane cleans house and no-sells a Faarooq powerslam, but Shane blocks a broncobuster with a chair and Bradshaw pins X-Pac to win the titles at 4:44, their first ones. **
WWF tag team titles: The Hardy Boyz & Michael Hayes v. The Acolytes
From Fully Loaded 99, during the unfortunate period when cool dad Michael Hayes was managing the Hardyz. Funny that Matt Hardy is now slotted in the same “old guy who thinks he’s still cool” role today. So yeah, the babyfaces get a 3-on-2 advantage here because reasons. Everyone brawls on the floor to start and the crowd is DEAD. The Acolytes double-team Hayes and beat on him with the stairs, but Jeff escapes Faarooq and dives onto Bradshaw to save. Matt moonsaults them, but Bradshaw slams him back in the ring. The Hardyz double-team Bradshaw and dropkick him to the floor, and then double-team Faarooq to set up a swanton from Jeff that gets two. They’re doing all the classic Hardyz stuff and NO ONE CARES at this point. The Acolytes beat on Matt in the corner and Faarooq gets a backbreaker for two. Legdrop gets two. Michael Hayes gets a “hot” tag and quickly runs into a boot from Bradshaw for two. The problem was that there was such a churn in the audience at this point that the Freebirds were ancient history and no one cared about Hayes making a comeback in this role. Jeff comes in and Faarooq powerslams him for two as this drags and drags. Jeff tries a moonsault and Bradshaw casually powerbombs him off the top with one arm, for two, and somehow even Jeff hurling himself off high places and taking flat back bumps at high speed is boring here. Faarooq sets up for the Dominator, but Matt runs in to save and hits a Twist of Fate for two. But then Bradshaw hits him with a short clothesline and brings him to the top for a backdrop suplex that gets two. Jeff hits Bradshaw with the cane and gets two off that, but then he tries the Whisper in the Wind and Bradshaw hits him with a mid-air lariat for two. But then poor old Michael Hayes tries to make a comeback on his own, and they hit him with a double powerbomb and pin him at 11:00 to win the tag team titles. This was a boring disaster and the psychology was completely backwards, but I think the Hardy Boyz might have a future. *
TAG TEAM TURMOIL!
Edge & Christian v. The Hardy Boyz
From Summerslam 99 now, a six team gauntlet for a shot at the tag team titles on RAW the next night. A month after our last match, the Hardyz are now The New Brood and paired with Gangrel in the weird vampire rebound angle. E&C double-team Matt to start and hit a double hiptoss for two. Christian goes for a rollup and Gangrel hits him from the floor, allowing Matt to get two. Hardyz double-slam Christian for two and Jeff hits a moonsault for two. Matt drops a leg for two and Jeff hits the swanton for two. Christian manages to hit them with a double DDT and makes the hot tag to Edge, but Matt tosses him over the top. So Edge jumps on the railing while Jeff does the same, and Edge hits him with a spear while Jeff is running the railing, and the camera COMPLETELY MISSES IT. And then they do dives and Christian finishes Matt with a flying elbow at 5:00.
Edge & Christian v. Mideon & Viscera
Carrying on, as Vis whips Christian around and hits him with a samoan drop, and they follow with a double-elbow before Mideon drops a knee for two. Mideon goes up and misses whatever, as Edge gets a hot tag and then walks into the heel kick from Vis. But Vis splashes his own partner by mistake and Edge spears Mideon for the pin at 7:38.
Edge & Christian v. Droz & Prince Albert
Droz charges in and stomps Edge down immediately before hitting a back elbow, and Albert slugs away in the corner before missing a charge. He recovers with a torture rack into a neckbreaker for two, but tries a press slam and Christian clips the knee for two. Edge with the downward spiral to finish at 9:36.
Edge & Christian v. The Acolytes
The Acolytes hit the ring before the bell even rings, and Bradshaw puts Edge down with a big boot, but Edge DDTs him and goes up with a missile dropkick. He slugs away in the corner, but Bradshaw powerbombs him for two. Edge fights back with a leg lariat on Faarooq, so Bradshaw comes in and clobbers Christian off the apron before clotheslining Edge for two. Faarooq with a backbreaker for two and he goes to a chinlock, before hitting a spinebuster for two. Edge finally comes back with a DDT and makes the hot tag to Christian, but the Hollies come out and run interference and Bradshaw hits Christian with the Clothesline from Hell and pins him at 14:50.
The Acolytes v. Hardcore & Crash Holly
Faarooq immediately hits Crash with the Dominator and then they double-team Hardcore, but Bob comes back with a suplex on Faarooq and Crash makes his own tag. So the Acolytes take turns beating him up, but the Hollies get into an argument and Faarooq pins Hardcore with a spinebuster to win the gauntlet at 17:43. The first couple of segments with E&C were fun but the rest was REALLY bad. In particular the Acolytes looked bored and had little interest in selling much of anything here. Call it *1/2 for the whole thing.
WWF v. WCW tag team titles: The APA v. Chuck Palumbo & Sean O’Haire
We skip ahead to INVASION now, 07.22.01, for an “interpromotional” match, although it’s non-title. Yeah, the first ever meeting of tag team champions in a dream match and THIS is what we get. The WCW guys double-team Bradshaw in the corner to start and O’Haire puts him down with a clothesline and slugs away on the mat. Faarooq comes in and O’Haire hits him with a kneelift for two, before Palumbo comes in and stomps him down. But then Bradshaw comes in and beats on Chuck in the corner, but the WCW guys work on Bradshaw for a minute before he makes the hot tag to Faarooq. O’Haire quickly hits him with a clothesline from the apron and Palumbo gets two off that. O’Haire with a kneelift for two, but Bradshaw gets another hot tag and powerslams Palumbo for two. It’s BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA and Palumbo gets a superkick that misses by a mile, but Bradshaw hits the Clothesline From Hell for the pin at 7:26. Way to put over that new blood. This was all over the place and sloppy as hell, and really just a lot of nothing. *
The APA Invitational
We’re off to Vengeance 2003 now, as they have a bar set up by the ramp so they can have a bar fight. Besides the usual midcarders of the time, the roster of fighters here is filled out by a guy in the Easter Bunny costume, plus Doink the Clown (as played by Nick Dinsmore), the Brooklyn Brawler, and Brother Love. Bradshaw actually debuted his new short blond haircut around this time, which would remain for the rest of his career. Everyone just randomly brawls around and hits each other with stuff and Bradshaw wins at 4:40 because reasons. DUD
The Acolytes v. The Mean Street Posse
Back to December of 1999 on Sunday Night Heat. We actually get promo time from Rodney before the match as they brag about beating up the Acolytes at the start of the show, which will clearly necessitate a forfeit. But then they come out anyway in a shocking swerve and pretty much legally murder the Posse, including smashing the stairs into Pete’s head and then Faarooq ramming the microphone repeatedly into Rodney’s throat before they deliver multiple powerbombs in the ring and the “match” just ends. OK.
This is kind of stretching the boundaries of “The Best Of…” at this point. Their whole deal was doing wacky skits backstage and playing poker in between bar fights, not matches.
The APA & The Undertaker v. The FBI
From Smackdown, 06.26.03. The announcers are really putting over how Undertaker endorsed young Orlando Jordan, much he did for John Cena a year earlier. Yeah well one of those endorsements certainly proved to be a better idea. Palumbo slugs away on Undertaker to start and gets nowhere, as Taker goes old school on him. The FBI triple-teams Taker in the corner to take over and Johnny the Bull comes in, but Taker DDTs him and Ron Simmons comes in with a slam for two, as he ditched the Faarooq identity when they reunited in 2003. The FBI trap him in the corner and get a double-slam on him for two, but Nunzio finally tags in and Simmons slugs him down. But Palumbo comes back in and goes to a camel clutch, but Simmons fights out of it and it’s over to Bradshaw. He runs wild, but Palumbo superkicks him, so Taker clears the ring and Bradshaw finishes Johnny with the Clothesline from Hell at 6:35. They were DESPERATELY trying to make Bradshaw’s singles career a thing at this point, with the “Last Call” slam and having him get the pin for his team in every match with the Clothesline from Hell, and it just never took until the complete overhaul of his character. *
The APA v. Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas
From Tribute to the Troops 2003, back when they’d actually do it overseas and provide an interesting visual contrast instead of just taping the shows at the normal arenas and going “Yay troops!” every other segment. Shelton slugs away on Simmons in the corner to start, but Bradshaw comes in with some clubbing forearms and then hits Haas with a forearm to the back for two. Powerslam gets two. Simmons tries the Dominator, but Shelton breaks it up and the heels take over as now it’s suddenly “Faarooq” again instead of “Ron Simmons”. He quickly fights back and makes the hot tag to Bradshaw, who gets a DDT for two and puts Shelton on the floor. Haas tries to go up, but Bradshaw brings him down with the blockbuster slam and then finishes him with the Clothesline from Hell at 4:25. ½*
Yeah, this was 100% not what I was looking for out of this kind of show. I thought it was going to be a look at their wacky stuff from the Attitude Era and funny poker game skits and such, and instead it was just a weirdly curated group of matches that had no context offered. Totally worthless even at 90 minutes long instead of the usual 3 or 4 hours that these “Best of” compilations on there run.