The SmarK Rant for Coliseum Video presents Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake
You know, all the kids in school today are talking about scissoring, so I naturally assume that Brutus Beefcake is due for a comeback any day now.
Released 03.03.88, just in time for him to choke at Wrestlemania IV.
Your host is Mean Gene, who probably doesn’t even know what a barber is. Also the VQ on this one is TRASH, even on the WWE Network. I actually went with my super-legally acquired original version because at least the music won’t be butchered on that one.
Mean Gene tells us that when we’re watching the early matches, we should watch his face. Hey, speaking of that…no, I’ll leave that one alone.
From TNT, Johnny Valiant introduces his newest acquisition, Brutus Beefcake, on the Halloween 1984 show. Johnny actually had a bit of a different deal going on at that point, with a personality closer to what Bobby Heenan was doing later on rather than his gruff New Yorker act.
WWF title: Hulk Hogan v. Brutus Beefcake
From the Capital Center early in the run of Hulkamania, April or August 85, as Hogan is rocking the all white AND an elbowpad! Brutus does some strutting to annoy Hulk, so Hulk does his own strutting and then attacks him in the corner with a corner clothesline. No one shows up Hulk Hogan! Atomic drop puts Beefcake on the floor. Back in, Brutus catches him with a cheapshot and pounds him with forearms, but Hulk runs him into the turnbuckles 10 times and chokes him out. As usual, Hogan is the first one to cheat. Even Gorilla isn’t covering for him this time! Hulk with a backbreaker for two, which is a rarity from him, and then he rakes the back, but Brutus reverses him into the corner and hits his own clothesline to take over. Brutus puts the boots to him and chokes him out and they fight to the floor, but Hulk cheats AGAIN and bites him! Brutus has actually been wrestling a clean match and Hulk is the one breaking all the rules. Beefcake sends him into the post to escape this maniac and back in for an elbow that gets two. Beefcake with a melodramatic powerslam for two and he continues putting the boots to Hulk and then goes to a bearhug. That’s probably the hug that Beefcake gave him every night in the 90s when he thanked Hulk for his continued employment in WCW. Hulk breaks free and slugs him down before following with the Axe Bomber, and big boot and legdrop…but it GETS TWO?!? Valiant takes the ref and Brutus tries a high knee, but it misses and knocks Johnny off, allowing Hulk to roll him up for the pin at 10:50 to retain. This is shocking, I know, but Hulk gave his BFF Beefcake a TON here and they had a hell of a match with a super hot crowd as a result. ***1/2
Next up, highlights from the Dream Team defending the tag team titles against the British Bulldogs on WWF Championship Wrestling in late 85 in a short TV match, and then the finish of Wrestlemania 2 where the Bulldogs won the titles. Dynamite Kid is a maniac for taking that bump off the top rope, I just want to point out again.
Next we get clips (NYUK NYUK) of Beefcake accidentally getting his hair cut by Adrian Adonis on Superstars, and then a clip of Greg Valentine and Dino Bravo turning on him at WM3 before he returns later in the night to get revenge on Adonis and give birth to the Barber.
Brutus Beefcake v. Johnny Valiant
We’re in Boston shortly after Wrestlemania 3 now as Brutus is still working out the details of the Barber gimmick. Johnny attacks and chokes him out in the corner to start, then rakes his face on the ropes. I should note that Johnny has “Moon Shine” on his tights, perhaps previewing a lost gimmick change where he becomes a bootlegger. He could have used Copperhead Road as his entrance music. Beefcake comes back and rams Johnny into the turnbuckles a bunch of times and then puts him down with the atomic drop. Valiant rakes the eyes, but Beefcake hits him with an elbow off the middle ropes and then finishes him with the sleeper for not the first time and not the last time at 3:33. And poor Johnny gets another chunk of hair cut off and some spraypaint, perhaps foreshadowing the rise of the nWo a decade later? Huge if true. Nothing to the match. ½*
Mean Gene chats with Brutus in a backstage interview from Superstars, as he notes that he’s still in his experimental phase of learning to cut hair, so there will no doubt be some pain for his opponents.
Brutus Beefcake v. Greg Valentine
From Superstars, although now it’s November 87 and Johnny V has been replaced by Jimmy Hart so it’s not exactly a hot feud any longer, to say the least. Nice of them to include it at least, although it’s more of a Survivor Series hype deal I’d assume. Valentine attacks and hits him with elbows, but they slug it out and Beefcake hits him with a clothesline out of the corner. Beefcake runs him into the turnbuckle and Greg does a delayed sell, so Brutus chops him down instead. Hammer fires back with an elbow as Vince declares it a SEE SAW BATTLE, his highest compliment. Valentine goes to the top and Beefcake slams him off and slugs away in the corner. Beefcake splits the legs and drops an elbow on him, but Valentine catches him with his own elbow and goes for the figure-four. Beefcake fights that off, but Jimmy Hart keeps going for the scissors and Beefcake keeps getting distracted because he’s an IDIOT. They slug it out and toss the ref as a result, and they trade finishers with no ref, with Valentine getting the figure-four while Hebner is legally dead, until he finally revives and calls for the double DQ at 6:14. Meanwhile Beefcake is threatening people with giant scissors and VALENTINE is the bad guy here? As if anyone would get over by threatening to scissor people. No wait I already made that reference at the beginning. A decent match that I would politely listen to at dinner and might buy a drink for, but probably wouldn’t call back the next day. **
Honky Tonk Man v. Brutus Beefcake
We move back a month to October 87, from an episode of Wrestling Challenge. You know, that show that they started adding to the WWE Network a billion years ago and then dropped cold just before Wrestlemania III? That show? Beefcake quickly hits Honky with an atomic drop to send him to the floor. Back in with a sunset flip for two, but Brutus misses a blind charge and Honky slams him and goes up. Beefcake catches him on the way down and gets the sleeper, but Jimmy Hart runs in for the DQ at 2:00. Why was it a non-title match if they were just gonna do a bullshit screwjob finish anyway? Jimmy Hart loses a bit of hair, but Danny Davis saves his manager to set up a house show run. This was one of their first matches and it was already shitty. DUD
Brutus Beefcake v. Danny Davis
So we actually get the match that follows from that last one, again from Wrestling Challenge, which goes towards setting up Survivor Series. Danny slugs away and quickly loses that battle, and we get an inset promo from Sam Houston to set up a match that could jerk the curtain in any high school in the Northeast! OK that’s mean, maybe community center is more fair. Beefcake slugs away in the corner and tosses Davis, and then slingshots him back in and tosses Jimmy Hart onto him for the pin at 4:00. And then poor Jimmy gets puts to sleep, the only time anyone in history has ever shut him up, but Danny makes the save. Absolutely nothing to this one, but at least it had a mostly clean finish. Davis was already out of steam as a heel at this point. ½*
Brutus Beefcake v. Ted Dibiase
From Boston as we jump back ANOTHER month, to September 87, and we’re graced with the commentary team of Gorilla Monsoon and Duke Doherty. For those who dispute that wrestling peaked in the 80s, Dibiase has such nuclear heat that Boston is literally throwing garbage in the ring at him at this point. You think the flippy guys and pizza makers can draw that kind of hatred? Dibiase offers him $500, CASH MONEY, to throw the match and let him win, but Beefcake steals the money and gives it to the fans instead. A few years later and Beefcake would be thinking that offer VERY carefully. Beefcake immediately gets the sleeper and Dibiase makes the ropes and bails to escape. Back in, Dibiase slugs away in the corner, but Beefcake backdrops him and then distracts the ref before hitting Dibiase suspiciously low. Dibiase gives him a well deserved cheapshot for that one and stomps him down to take over, then puts him down with a back elbow and drops the fist on him. That’s such a thing of consistent beauty and execution, like Perfect’s necksnap or CM Punk getting run out of a promotion after a bitter breakup. Dibiase goes up with an elbow off the middle and chokes him out on the ropes, but Beefcake cradles for two for the hope spot, before Dibiase puts the boots to him again and follows with a snap suplex for two. Dibiase with the chinlock and Beefcake fights out of that one, but he runs into a knee and that gets two. Dibiase goes up and Beefcake nails him on the way down and makes the comeback, but he goes after Virgil and Dibiase nails him from behind and pins him with a rollup and a handful of tights at 9:00. Brutus gets his heat back a bit, but Dibiase runs away from any potential haircuts. This match RULED. ***1/2
Sal Fodera teaches Brutus the fine art of hairstyling, and even though Brutus butchers every mannequin, he still graduates and gets a certificate that allows him to cut hair anywhere in the world…but only in the wrestling ring. Tough but fair.
Brutus Beefcake v. Dino Bravo
Back to Wrestling Challenge as we go back in time AGAIN, now to May of 87. This is a weirdly sequenced videotape. So we’re still in the fallout of Wrestlemania III at this point, with Johnny V managing Bravo as part of the New Dream Team. Brutus slugs away to start and hits an atomic drop and some slams, sending Dino to the floor. Back in, Bravo puts the boots to him and hits a gut wrench and legdrop. He drops an elbow and follows with the devastating SIDE SUPLEX OF DOOM, but that’s not his finisher yet so Beefcake makes the comeback and gets the sleeper, which brings the troops in for the DQ at 3:50. I’m not even using the point system on this tape but Bravo always rates 0 for 1.
The Rougeau Brothers & Brutus Beefcake v. Johnny K-9, Iron Mike Sharpe & Jimmy Jack Funk
And we finish with a six-man squash from WWF Superstars in June 87. Beefcake quickly dominates Iron Mike and let K-9 come in, as the Rougeaus double-team him and Jacques splashes him for two. Sharpe saves and the heels actually get some offense on Jacques in the corner before K-9 goes up and misses a diving headbutt. Brutus gets that press slam he stopped doing as a babyface and the Rougeaus finish him with the Rougeau Bomb at 3:03. And then Iron Mike gets a forcible haircut, which seems a little uncalled for.
COMING SOON TO COLISEUM VIDEO: The Best of the WWF Volume 16! The Royal Rumble! Hulkamania 3! Oddly enough, the promo for WWF Vol 16 shows a match from Superstars between the Hart Foundation and the Killer Bees, but Volume 16 actually ended up being that horrible “Around the World” tape that had all the terrible foreign-themed matches and was rock bottom for the series. Plans change, I guess.
Regardless, for an 80 minute tape, the Hogan match and Dibiase match make this one worth a watch, even if it was released way too early to be any kind of meaningful look at Beefcake’s babyface run. It probably could have used a sequel in 1990 if we’re being honest. I kind of liked the way they told the story with Beefcake breaking up with his team and then doing matches with all three members of the heel team, even if all those matches were pretty terrible, so this actually has a lot going for it and I’d give it a recommendation overall.