The SmarK Rant for Coliseum Video presents The Best of the WWF Volume 17
Man even the COVERS for these things are low rent now. The VQ on this dub that I legally acquired from a wholly reputable site is pretty bad as well.
Hosted by Mean Gene, who is unsuccessful in his attempts to get into the arena for a WWF show as the running gag.
Dino Bravo v. Ken Patera
Truly this is the best of the WWF already. One thing I immediately appreciate, however, is that they now put date and location right at the start of the match. And this is from the 5/7/88 MSG show, which saves me from having to troll Cagematch and trying to figure out where stuff came from. Patera immediately chases Bravo to the floor by pretending to be Montreal mafia looking for their cigarette money, and then beats on him with forearms until Bravo leaves again. Back in with a slam and Patera does a blind charge and hits the post, allowing Bravo to take over with a piledriver. Why not just hit the side slam and pin him? We all know that’s where it’s going anyway. Patera fights back and tries a monkey flip, but Bravo hits him with an atomic drop and drops an elbow for two. Bravo goes to the neck vice and Patera bails to the floor to escape the onslaught of offense from Bravo. Frenchie Martin, who was still a better worker than either of these guys in 1988, hits Patera with some cheapshots while Bravo gets blown up playing to the crowd. Back in, Bravo tries another piledriver and Patera backdrops out and makes a comeback with a slam for two. Small package gets two. Sunset flip gets two. Patera charges and actually hits a clothesline instead of missing! This sets up a full nelson and Bravo gets to the ropes to break, and then hits the dreaded side slam for the pin at 7:10. GODDAMMIT I wanted to hate this with every fiber of my being and it was actually a decent match. They can’t even have a shit match for me to mock without fucking it up, that’s how bad they are. DINO BRAVO IS THE WORST. 1 for 1.
Big Bossman v. Sam Houston
From Philly, 7/23/88, very soon after Bossman’s debut. Houston tries for a facelock to start and Bossman beats on him in the corner, so Sam gets a sleeper and Bossman casually dumps him to the floor. Houston smacks his head on the concrete floor and commentator Billy Graham is like “Well, the best advice I can offer him is to shake it off and get back in there.” And that’s why wrestling had a concussion problem for years. Houston tries a sunset flip and Bossman won’t go down for that and then beats him down with a headbutt and goes to a surfboard. Sam fights out of that with a mule kick, but Bossman takes him down again with a gut wrench and goes to a chinlock this time. Houston makes another comeback and Bossman misses a blind charge, so Houston puts him down with a high knee. Sam goes up with a missile dropkick for two, but goes up again and gets powerslammed and pinned at 7:10. Kind of an odd match, with Bossman giving Houston a ton of offense for whatever reason here, but it was good stuff. 2 for 2.
From WWF Superstars, Bobby Heenan introduces the next person to be crown as the King of the WWF: HAKU. Kind of a weirdly underwhelming choice at the time, but at least they found something for him to do after Tama’s departure and got a main event run out of him. Funny bit as Bobby notes that Harley Race is “recovering from surgery at the hands of Hulk Hogan” and Vince is like “Hulk Hogan performed surgery on Harley Race?” OK, I laughed at that one.
The British Bulldogs v. The Bolsheviks
Still in Philly on 7/23/88 for this one. Big stall from the Russians as the crowd chants “USA” to cheer on the two guys with British flags on their ass. In Philly! The irony here is something to behold. Why did our founding fathers even bother winning World War II against the British? Finally we get contact 3:00 into the match, as Davey takes Boris down and works the arm, and then dodges a charge to send Zukhov into the post. Dynamite comes in and runs them together for two, but Davey distracts the ref accidentally and the Bolsheviks hit a double headbutt and pin Kid at 4:43. This was literally less than a minute of actual wrestling here. 2 for 3.
The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers v. The Rockers
From MSG, 7/25/88 now. Kind of an interesting matchup that we didn’t see much of here. Jacques offers Shawn a handshake and then turns on him, slugging him into the corner, and Shawn has to back off for some advice from Marty. That advice? “If you’re not sure if the girl you’re sexing is your daughter, ask the internet first.” Always timeless. The Rockers double-team Jacques’ arm in their corner, but Marty gets distracted by Ray’s shenanigans and Jacques nails him from behind to take over. Raymond whips him into the corner for a great bump and that gets two. Double team backbreaker gets two. Abdominal stretch and Ray comes in with the superkick for two. Man that move works so much better when the Rougeaus are heels. Raymond with his own abdominal stretch and he’s so tied up that they might as well call it the Legal System. Jacques comes in with a superkick and splash for two, but he tries a bodypress and misses and it’s HOT TAG Shawn Michaels. He slugs away on Jacques and dropkicks him, and it’s ALL CATTY WAMPUS as Shawn goes up with a flying fist for two. Back to the top again, but Jacques shoves him off this time and Shawn gets crotched and pinned by Ray at 8:35. This was a pretty hot tag team match. 3 for 4. Afterwards, the Bulldogs come out and stooge off the Rougeaus for cheating, but no evidence of widespread fraud can be found.
Intercontinental title: The Honky Tonk Man v. Brutus Beefcake
From the Boston Garden, 8/6/88 as we near the end of Honky’s title reign. Peggy Sue, as pointed out by the announcers, is looking particularly ugly and is carrying a megaphone. Speaking of unattractive women, Brutus has his new valet, Georgia, who is a real animal. Hopefully none of the children in the audience were permanently scarred by the drag show on display here. Thoughts and prayers for them if so. The whole concept here is incredibly dumb but at least everyone is fully committed to it. That’s really all you can ask. Honky with the lengthy stall to start and he attacks Brutus from behind and slugs away in the corner, so Beefcake runs him into the turnbuckles and follows with an atomic drop. Honky Tonk selling atomic drops is an underrated bit of wrestling genius that deserves its own meme like Rick Rude had for a while. Honky bails to the ropes and Georgia bites him, so Brutus slugs away in the corner. Honky staggers to another corner, so Brutus follows and does it again. So it’s time for the sleeper, but “Peggy” runs in and Georgia cuts her off. This allows Honky to grab the megaphone, however, and he knocks out Brutus for the pin at 6:00. This was all icing and no cake, perhaps suitable for a house show main event but not up to the refined palate of a professional wrestling reviewer such as myself. 3 for 5.
WWF tag team title: Demolition v. Strike Force
From Superstars, although in this case we don’t get a date. But this was the rematch from Wrestlemania IV and you might know the finish already. Also the original commentary has been redubbed by Gorilla and Lord Alfred. Ax goes after Martel to start and Rick evades him and slugs away, but then Ax just WALLOPS HIM in an awesome sequence, showing why they quickly got over as badasses. Martel tries a crossbody and Ax catches him, but Tito dropkicks them over for two. Cheaters. Tito comes in legally now and works on the arm, but Martel gets double-teamed in the Demo corner. He fights out and brings Smash back to the Strike Force corner for more double-teaming from them. Ax comes in and Tito stays on his arm as well, and hits a bodypress for two. Fuj the Stooge gets a cheapshot with the cane, however, and the Demos take over as Smash beats on Tito. Ax comes in and misses an elbow, but he still cuts off a tag attempt, so Tito hits him with the flying forearm and it’s hot tag Martel. Martel runs wild with dropkicks and gets the Boston crab, but Smash quickly breaks that up and Martel gets sent to the floor on the bump. So Smash beats on him with a chair out there, and they deliver the Demolition Decapitation from the apron to the floor, and Martel is D-E-D, dead and counted out at 7:30. 4 for 6. And then he goes out on a stretcher and doesn’t return until the Royal Rumble. In reality he was gone for six months dealing with personal issues.
Hacksaw Duggan v. Andre the Giant
From the Boston Garden again, 8/6/88. This is a lumberjack match but otherwise the same Duggan-Andre match we’ve all seen 10 million times. Andre hits him with a bunch of headbutts and chokes him out, then sits on him while mocking the Ho. Duggan of course knocks him into the ropes to tie him up, but tries his own headbutt and knocks himself out because he’s one of the stupidest human beings alive apparently. Andre undoes a turnbuckle and runs Duggan into the exposed steel a few times, but misses a headbutt and hurts himself as a result. I question the physics on that one. Duggan with the three-point stance and he rams Andre into the steel again, but then uses the 2×4 and sends Andre to the floor. The lumberjacks try to get him back in, but Andre beats them all up single-handedly and goes in on his own schedule. Duggan makes another comeback, but Andre slugs him down, runs him into the exposed steel, and drops an elbow on him to finish him off at 7:42. The huge heat from the crowd carried this one to a point well enough. 5 for 7.
This was a HUGE improvement over the bizarre experiment of Volume 16, with major programs highlighted this time and a good mix of stuff. This one gets a recommendation.