The SmarK Rant for Coliseum Video presents GRUDGE MATCH
By Scott Keith on 1st November 2022
The SmarK Rant for Coliseum Video presents Grudge Match
I should note that the cover of the tape calls this “Grudge Matches” but the actual name of the tape is Grudge MATCH, singular. There was a much crappier version in 1995 that was called Grudge Matches, for those keeping track.
Released March 27 1986 as we return to the glory days of the original Coliseum Videos again.
Hosted by Gorilla Monsoon, who warns us about HATRED going far beyond the boundaries of the squared circle, and cautions us that some of these are particularly violent. Well I’m writing this on Halloween night so that’s fitting.
WWF title: Hulk Hogan v. Magnificent Muraco
From MSG, May 85. Muraco attacks before Hulk can even tear off his shirt and beats him down in the corner before choking him out with the remains. Hulk fights back and headbutts Muraco out of the ring as they brawl on the floor, and of course it’s cheater Hogan who chokes him out with the shirt this time. I’m pretty sure “turnabout is fair play” isn’t a valid legal strategy in court. Hulk chokes him out in the ring and headbutts him down, and then follows with an elbow and slugs away on the mat. Muraco bails to escape this maniac, and finally hits him with a chair to get a breather. And then Hulk does it right back, because apparently turnabout is fair play and you can just do whatever cheating you want now. Back in, Hulk hits a backdrop suplex and Muraco is now busted open from Hogan’s underhanded assault, and Hulk tosses him and runs him into the post headfirst, literally out for blood now. Hulk bites the cut and suplexes him back into the ring before dropping the leg for the pin, but Muraco has his foot on the ropes and manages to bravely throw salt in Hogan’s face to draw a DQ and escape from further cheating at 6:48. They had a good brawl going but the finish was really abrupt and weird. ** This sets up a cage match for the next month in MSG and Hogan finally put Muraco away there after three tries at it.
The Junkyard Dog v. Terry Funk
From Championship Wrestling in 85. They quickly brawl to the floor and Funk wins the race back in to beat the count, but Dog puts him down with headbutts and chases him to the floor again. Back in the ring, Funk shows off his pugilism, but Dog runs him into the turnbuckles and Funk is hilarious selling that, so obviously ramming his own head into them like a complete clown. He’s a national treasure. Jimmy Hart manages to distract JYD and break it up, but Dog continues beating on Terry with more headbutts and ties him up in the ropes, and then beats up poor Jimmy Hart for no reason as well. Cocaine is a hell of a drug. So he steals the branding iron and goes to attack Funk, but Dory Funk Jr. debuts in the WWF and makes the save for his brother at 3:00, drawing the DQ. And they identify him as Dory Funk! I thought they just brought him in as Hoss Funk and pretended he was a new guy. Fun match for the time it got. **1/4
The Junkyard Dog v. Terry Funk
This is the rematch from Saturday Night’s Main Event. Dog quickly tosses Funk out of the ring, and Terry uses Jimmy Hart as a crash pad on the way down. Back in, Dog hits him with headbutts and Funk sells like he’s getting tazed by the cops and bails to the apron. So Dog heads out and beats up Jimmy Hart to show what a big man he is, and then goes after Funk back in the ring. Funk slugs him down for two as this match is basically a carbon copy of their previous TV match but done at a slower pace. Funk with the sleeper but Dog reverses to his own. He should have made it a finisher and called it THE DOG COLLAR! But then Jimmy Hart distracts the ref and Funk uses his finisher, hitting someone with the megaphone, and gets the pin at 5:00. Funk goes to use the branding iron and gets foiled, and then takes a crazy bump out of the ring and onto the ringside table for good measure. Meanwhile, the Dog commits a sexual assault on Jimmy, ripping his pants off and branding him on national TV. What a monster. **
WWF title: Bruno Sammartino v. Ivan Koloff
From an MSG show in 1975, in Bruno’s second title reign. Although strangely the commentary pretends this is during Ivan’s title reign 1971, which is ridiculous lie because he only held the belt for two weeks and dropped it to Pedro Morales without ever having a rematch with Bruno. Joined with Ivan working the leg on the mat, but Bruno fights out and they collide for the double down. They collide again and Bruno takes a bump to the floor this time. Back in, Ivan tries to beat on him in the corner, but Bruno fights him off and makes the comeback with a big boot to the gut. They do the test of strength and Ivan uses a cheapshot to escape that, so Bruno slugs away and beats on him in the corner before choking him down. Bruno goes to the bearhug as Gorilla keeps talking about Bruno wanting to regain the title. Koloff slugs away in the corner while Gorilla talks about how this rematch was “two years in the making” and Bruno is busted open from the punches. WTF is Gorilla even talking about? The doctor checks the cut and declares that Bruno just needs to smoke a pack of Camels and down a bottle of whiskey and he’ll be fine, and they’re back at it again. So they continue fighting it out, but the ref gets bumped in the chaos and that’s a double DQ at 9:00 shown. So that would date this one as October 1975. This was a HOSS FIGHT, 70s style. ***
Intercontinental title: Tito Santana v. Greg Valentine
This would be from one of the syndicated shows in 1985, as Valentine attacks the knee before Tito even gets into the ring, but he goes for the figure-four and Tito fights him off and then hits the flying forearm out of nowhere for two. Valentine is in the ropes but Tito thinks he’s won, and Valentine hits him in the knee one more time and pins him to win the title at 1:38 shown. And then Valentine puts him in the figure-four after the win to further injure the knee. I’m curious why they didn’t include this match on the History of the IC title video, actually.
Meanwhile, Tito Santana goes in for surgery and we get to watch them prep for operating. Being an anaesthesiologist for guys who regularly ingest more drugs than a kid’s candy bag full of Fentanyl on Halloween night must be a hell of a job.
Intercontinental title: Greg Valentine v. Tito Santana
This is the famous rematch from Baltimore in the cage match. Gorilla declares that this is the “first time in the history of professional wrestling that the Intercontinental title has been contested in the steel cage”. Except of course for ONE OF THE MOST FAMOUS MATCHES IN WRESTLING HISTORY that happened two years earlier and a bunch of others. But other than those, 100% true. We’re clipped to Valentine trying to scale the cage and run away, but Tito pulls him down to the mat, so Valentine beats him down on the ropes and tries to run him into the cage. Gorilla notes that if you’ve ever had chainlink fence in your backyard, you’ll know how easy it is to bust yourself open on them. What kind of a fucked up childhood did this guy have? Greg tries to climb out and Tito follows him up for the slugfest on the top rope, sending Valentine to the mat. But then Greg pulls him down and necks him on the top rope on the way down to take over again. Valentine with a shoulderbreaker as Gorilla notes “this is the Mecca for pro wrestling”. Did he forget which arena they’re in? Because he was literally talking about Baltimore a minute before. Tito beats the Hammer down and crawls for the door, but Valentine tackles him and smothers him to keep him in. Hammer hauls him back in and tries a figure-four, but Tito fights him off and hits the flying forearm for the double down. Santana goes for a headlock, but Valentine hotshots him into the cage and runs him into the cage a few times, and Tito’s babyface sympathy selling is tremendous, especially when Valentine hits him with an elbow to the face off the middle rope. Valentine goes for the door and Tito does the desperate leap and grabs the leg, but then he collapses after slugging Valentine down. He recovers first and goes to climb the cage, but Valentine cuts him off. So Tito slugs him down and then kicks the door in his face, falling down in the process and regaining the IC title at 10:20. Hell of a match here. **** Afterwards, Valentine smashes the belt into the cage in an effort to destroy it, which gave us the famous re-design that lasted for the next decade afterwards.
WWF World title: Superstar Billy Graham v. Bruno Sammartino
Back to MSG in 1977 for this one, with Gorilla Monsoon as the special referee. Bruno immediately storms Graham in the corner and tosses him out of the ring, and then stomps the fingers when Graham is trying to crawl back in again. He chokes him out in the corner, so Gorilla PULLS HIM OFF, which is exactly the kind of behaviour he would later throw fits about other refs doing. Bruno keeps putting the boots to Graham as the crowd goes nuts. Graham finally gets desperate and grabs a rope from ringside, but Bruno chokes him out with that and then dodges a charging Graham, who crotches himself in the ropes. Bruno with a half crab, but Graham makes the ropes, so Bruno goes to a toehold and cranks on the ankle. Graham desperately rakes the face to escape and then hits him right in the old cannoli to take over, before going to the top and missing a flying kneedrop. So Bruno makes the comeback, but misses a dramatic blind charge and Graham sends him to the floor. Back in the ring, Graham bites the forehead and grabs the belt for a shot to the head, which Gorilla somehow ignores and allows Graham to continue beating on Bruno. Bruno is busted open and Graham continues beating on the cut, but Bruno fights back again and chases him out of the ring, at which point Graham decides to take a walk. So Gorilla chases him out and literally throws him back into the ring in a flagrant disregard of refereeing decorum, and Bruno smashes Graham into the turnbuckle bolt to even up the blood count. Bruno just goes nuts and beats the hell out of Graham to set up the bearhug, so Superstar just nails Gorilla to escape. Again he declines to DQ either guy, so Bruno keeps beating the hell out of Graham while he tries to run away. Finally they just slug it out until Graham goes down, and the doctors stop the match at 12:50 due to blood loss from both guys. Now THIS was a grudge match! ****
Hulk Hogan & Mr. T v. Rowdy Roddy Piper & Paul Orndorff
You may have heard about this one before. So we’ve got Billy Martin as ring announcer, Muhammad Ali as outside referee, and Liberace as timekeeper. To be honest Liberace was way before my time and outside of my pop culture experience at that age, so I never really knew what he was about. Plus he died only a couple of years after this. So “Eye of the Tiger” gets the axe and is replaced by “Real American”, obviously. Piper starts with Hogan for the monster heat, but Mr. T wants in because he wants a match with Piper. Well I’m pretty sure that couldn’t turn out badly. So they trade slaps and Piper takes him down and rides him on the mat, but T escapes that and the babyfaces chase the heels to the floor for a teased countout. Back in, it’s BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA and Hulk runs Piper and Orndorff together and then boots Piper over the top and to the floor. But then Orndorff clotheslines Hogan out there, where Piper beats on him with a chair and outside enforcer Ali does nothing. It probably would have been a disaster if they had let Ali be the referee inside the ring. Back in the ring, the heels double-team Hogan and choke him out, then hit a double atomic drop while the referees are busy dealing with Mr. T. Wonderful with a suplex on Hulk and Piper slugs away on him and puts him down with a kneelift for two. Orndorff with an elbow off the middle rope for two. Paul goes up with a flying knee and that misses, allowing Hulk to make the hot tag to Mr. T, but T quickly gets clobbered and double-teamed. He’s no Logan Paul. Piper comes in and holds T down with a facelock while Ali stands on the apron for no reason until Pat Patterson tells him to get down again. Back to Hogan for the noggin knocker, but Orndorff puts him down with a back suplex. This allows Snuka and Orton to get involved with the ref distracted, but Orton goes up and hits Orndorff with the case accidentally, and Hogan pins Wonderful to win at 13:20. This was not great, to say the least, with the bulk of the match being Hogan selling and no real flow to it. Piper and Orton walk out on Orndorff afterwards, leaving him alone and confused when he wakes up. No wonder he had trust issues later on. **1/4
This one and Inside the Steel Cage are of course two of the most legendarily awesome tapes that Coliseum Video produced at the time, which I love even more these days thanks to the brilliance of BRUNO, and this one remains of my favorites. We’ll get to the cage match one soon as well.