The SmarK Rant for Coliseum Video presents The Best of the WWF Volume 16
“Around The World”
This is the first of these Best of the WWF tapes to have an actual theme, before they morph into the regular themed tapes for good after volume 19.
So now it’s the BADASS flying WWF logo introduction that’s like catnip to wrestling nerds. WHAT THE WOOOOOORLD IS WATCHING.
Your hosts are Mean Gene, Outback Jack & Frenchy Martin. I SWEAR TO GOD I AM NOT MAKING THAT UP. Also I’m astonished that Outback Jack was still employed in the first half of 1988.
Tatsumi Fujinami v. The Giant Machine
So we are back in September of 1985 for a New Japan show, complete with original Japanese commentary, and Andre is a heel and managed by the guy I know as KY Wakamatsu from Stampede. That’s definitely stretching the “Best of the WWF” definition but I’m open minded and it’s pretty crazy to have a Japanese import match back in the days of tape trading being an underground thing. Fujinami charges in and goes after the knee right away, but Andre chops him down and gets a pretty impressive vertical suplex to chase him to the floor. This reminds me of a classic Herb Kunze joke from back in the day, as he quipped that Tully and Arn tried to tour Japan when they were with the WWF but the Japanese announcers introduced them as “the Vertical Suplexes”. Back in the ring, Andre holds a top wristlock and goes to an armbar, then chokes Fujinami on the ropes. Fujinami manages to take him down with a double leg and powers him into a Boston crab, but Andre powers out and bails for some advice from Wakamatsu. That advice? Hell if I know, I don’t speak Japanese. Back in the ring, Andre beats him down with some nasty elbows, but Fujinami puts him down with an enzuigiri and pounds away on him with forearms until Andre headbutts him like he’s swatting a fly. Fujinami with a sunset flip, but the ref is distracted by the manager, so Fujinami freaks out and slams the ref to draw a DQ at 5:38. I’m gonna be exceedingly generous because it was such a unique thing for these tapes, and I enjoyed it for what it was, but technically it was pretty crap and mostly resting from Andre. 1 for 1.
Meanwhile, Mean Gene is man on the street in Japan (“People small in stature but big in heart”) and we get various wacky riffing from Gene like stopping by a record store and actually finding the Wresting Album for sale. That thing is IMPOSSIBLE to get on vinyl now, actually. If you have an original copy it’s worth a few hundred in good condition.
The Jumping Bomb Angels (Itsuki Yamazaki & Noriyo Tateno) v. Condor Saito & Bull Nakano
I believe this is from AJW sometime in 87, although again it’s just a dump of the original match with Japanese commentary so I don’t have any real context to provide. I’m assuming that the WWF just requested some footage from All Japan Women and they sent this over. This is a very strange tape already. Young punk rocker Bull Nakano bends and tortures Tateno on the ropes and good lord these ladies are vocal. Yamazaki comes in and hits Saito with high knees, but Nakano wraps her up with a leglock and takes her back to the heel corner for some double-teaming. We get some yelling and choking from the heels, mostly yelling, and it’s back to Tateno as she gets double-teamed and worked over some more. Tateno gets a butterfly suplex on Bull and Yamazaki comes off the top with a flying knee and runs wild, slamming Saito for two. Saito fires back with knees, but Tateno takes her down with a figure-four, but Saito makes the ropes. Yamazaki comes in and Nakano manages to beat the crap out of her with a pair of nunchuks behind the ref’s back, and a suplex gets two. All four come in for a random brawl and Tateno misses a dropkick, and the women all fight on the floor for the double countout at 11:18. How the bloody hell did they manage to find the one double countout in Japanese history for this tape?!? If you were going into this one expecting to see the Angels from the Rumble, you’ll be very disappointed. Mostly just a standard tag match, good but not my cup of tea. Still, it was good enough for a point. 2 for 2.
Mr. Fuji v. ???
I have no earthly idea who Fuji’s opponent is here. This comes from some kind of Kuwaiti wrestling TV show, no idea when or where exactly, and the guy looks like a cross between Ric Flair and Austin Idol but clearly isn’t either of them. Fuji tosses the guy and hauls him back in for a chop, then puts him in a cobra clutch and puts him out at 2:28. Really bad. 2 for 3.
The Killer Bees v. Iron Mike Sharpe & Barry O
This is from a famous Puerto Rico show in an open air stadium in 1985, which of course got hit by a torrential downpour during the show. And the ring is SOAKED as this is more dangerous than wrestling in a cage match with a torn pec muscle. They do some super basic stuff as the Bees work Barry over and no one can get any traction. The heels beat on Brunzell for a bit and Jim can barely stay on his feet trying to run the ropes, and finally he just cradles Barry and pins him at 4:10 so they can get out of there. This was a complete disaster. 2 for 4.
Hercules v. Ultimate Warrior
Quite the auspicious debut for the Warrior on the Best of the WWF series, as this is from a house show in Italy a week after Wrestlemania IV. And again, no English commentary for it. They exchange lockups to start and slug it out after some shoulderblocks that go nowhere. Warrior takes over with a clothesline and follows with the gorilla press, but the big splash hits the knees and Hercules gets the full nelson. Warrior powers out, so they fight to the floor for a double countout at 4:10 to end one of the worst matches in the history of Coliseum Video. I’m actually going to deduct a point because this was so bad. 1 for 5.
Andre the Giant v. Hacksaw Jim Duggan
Back to Italy for another classic from this house show. Like the first couple of matches at least had unique people you didn’t see all the time, now we’re just into the same house show marriages that were already all over TV, but with Italian commentary. Duggan tries to knock Andre down and fails badly, and Andre sends him to the floor and then chokes him out in the ring. Duggan fights back and slugs away in the corner before putting the boots to him, but Andre chokes him out again. And chokes him out. And chokes him out. Duggan fights back and Andre gets tied up in the ropes as usual, allowing Duggan to do his own choking. Andre breaks free, but the crowd distracts him by chanting for Hulk Hogan and Duggan hits the three-point stance. But then a second one hits Andre’s boot and Andre pins him at 7:00. This tape is SO BAD. 1 for 6.
Meanwhile, Mean Gene is now in Australia doing his man on the street gimmick and it turns into a dull promo with Paul Roma and SD Jones and koala bears while Gene desperately tries to find a way to work a dick joke into this monstrosity of a segment. THIS TAPE IS SO BAD.
Meanwhile, we throw in some old Outback Jack vignettes to fill more time on this thing.
Junkyard Dog v. King Harley Race
From Paris, or GAY Paris as Mean Gene makes sure to note in the god-awful introductory segment, with Andre the Giant in his third appearance on this dumpster fire of a tape, acting as special referee this time. Oh and we’ve got Frenchy Martin on color commentary with the poor Parisian commentator. This was probably awkward for both because as I understand it, “real” French speaking people tend to look down on Quebecois French and don’t like that version of it. Dog whips Race to the floor for a good bump, but Race takes over in the ring with a cheapshot in the corner. Dog slugs back, but Andre pulls him off and yanks him down for an elbowdrop from Race that gets two. This kind of leads to one of my standard pet peeves with heel ref deals, as Andre could literally just beat the crap out of Dog and let Race pin him, but instead he does the deal where he pretends to be impartial but ignores pins and then does standard counts otherwise. Dog makes a comeback and Andre is busy clearing debris from the ring and misses the pin attempt, and Race goes to a chinlock. Harley beats him down in the corner and puts the boots to him, but makes the mistake of hitting him directly in the head, THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING. So Dog makes a comeback, only moving slightly faster than when he was sitting in the chinlock for what felt like 15 minutes, and puts Race down with a headbutt. But Andre points out that he instructed Dog not to do that headbutt, and again ignores the pin when Dog hits the Thump. Race fires back with a belly to belly and gets a pair of headbutts, but again Dog has a harder head and gets his own. But Andre but has had enough of this cheating and disqualifies the Dog at 10:44 or something. A horrible match that was a complete waste of Andre in their first appearance in FRANCE of all places, coupled with Frenchy’s gravel voice for 10 minutes straight on commentary. 1 for 7.
The New Dream Team v. The Rougeau Brothers
One more from the Paris show to close out this car wreck of a tape, and what else could we possibly end with other than DINO BRAVO in the closer? And again we get Frenchy on commentary. I think a team of him and Duke Doherty together calling Dino Bravo v. Ken Patera matches would be my eternal punishment. Bravo gets a bearhug on Raymond for a while and they take him to the floor and Bravo runs him into the railing while Valentine takes the ref. Ray tries a sunset flip from the apron and Bravo cuts that off. Raymond comes back with a backslide on Valentine for two, and they slug it out. Bravo comes in again and Raymond gets a sunset flip for two, but Bravo hits the sideslam, only to miss an elbowdrop. Hot tag Jacques and he cleans house and gets a back elbow on Hammer for two. Jacques gets a sleeper, but Bravo breaks that up. Valentine goes for the figure-four, but Raymond switches in with a sunset flip for the pin at 9:38, which was their standard finish to a standard match. 1 for 8.
I don’t know what the cultural equivalent of “dumpster fire” would be exactly, but this tape was a good representation of terrible wrestling presented in a variety of languages and locales. I don’t know who decided that Ultimate Warrrior and Hercules doing a double countout in a four minute match in Italy was “the Best of the WWF”, but I’d be interested in what combination of drugs led to that conclusion. LES THUMBS DOWN.
I didn’t like this one is the point I’m trying to get across here, in case the language barrier was a factor there.