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Coliseum Video: Best of the WWF Vol. 16
by Scrooge McSuck
Around the World
- It's time for the WWF to go on tour, and you know what that means: lots of crappy shows and compilations! While the WWF has always been my promotion of choice, it's not hard to notice that the quality of the in-ring performances took a serious dip when touring overseas, especially during the boom period of the late 80's and early 90's. Sometimes, even the quality of the card on paper looked pretty shabby, but before I completely tear down every show I'm going to review before I even get to the first match, let's take a look at one of the earliest tapes released from the WWF and Coliseum Video, featuring the WWF action around the world.
- Hosts for this version of the Best of the WWF are Mean Gene Okerlund, Outback Jack, and Frenchie Martin, from what looks to be the Primetime Wrestling Studio. I don't know, but this might be the absolute oddest collection of "talent" ever to host a WWF video (until Matt Striker and Maria did the Randy Savage DVD... what was THAT about?!). Gene Okerlund cycles through various outfits, each representing the stereotypes of the world. It was the 80's, when Nintendo named a Russian character Vodka Drunkenski, and thought it wasn't that offensive.
Tatsumi Fujinami vs. The Giant Machine (w/ K.Y. Wakamatsu):
Some information is coming from TheHistoryofWWE.com, so forgiveness if anything is wrong. Originally held in Japan, no idea on the true date though, as the Machines thing didn't start until the Spring of 1986, but the website lists it as September of 1985. Oh well, no big deal. Giant Machine is obviously Andre the Giant, who generally turned up the heel dial when touring Japan. Fujinami attacks before the bell, kicking away at the legs of the Machine. It doesn't take the Giant long to fight back, and take Fujinami down with a suplex. The Machine drops a headbutt, forcing Fujinami out of the ring. Back inside, and the Giant Machine clamps on a nerve hold... to Fujinami's arm pit. You don't see that variation too often. Every time I see Andre as the Machine, I think of the WCW Master in WCW Wrestling on the NES. Fujinami escapes, but Andre turns it into an armbar, and goes to the vulcan neck pinch, as well. Fujinami actually sweeps the legs from under the Giant, and damn near gets a Boston Crab applied before being kicked off. That was pretty friggin' awesome, I have to admit. Fujinami goes for the arm, but takes an elbow to the face for his troubles. Irish whip, Fujinami ducks a boot, and takes the Machine down with an enziguri. Fujinami stomps away across the back of the Machine, then pounds away with rights. Irish whip, and Fujinami with a sunset flip, but the referee is distracted. Fujinami attacks the referee, drawing the DQ at 5:26. The Giant comes from behind and lays Fujinami out with a clothesline for added measure. Lame finish, but not a bad match at all.
The Jumping Bomb Angels vs. Bull Nakano & Condor Saito:
Another match pulled from Japan, and taking a stab at things, probably from 1987. The Angels are Itsuki Yamakazi and Noriyo Tateno, for the two of you that care enough to know. Odd choice from the Coliseum Video department, but maybe at the time of production, the Angels were being pushed or something and orders were given to have a match featuring them... or maybe someone pulled a tape at random and picked it. Nakano and Saito attack before the bell, with Nakano working over Yamakazi. Tateno comes in and lays Nakano out with a double under-hook suplex for a two count. Nakano with a slam to Tateno, but she gets trapped in a body scissors. Nakano counters into a Texas cloverleaf, and Saito comes in and connects with a leg drop. Irish whip, and Nakano with a boot to the midsection, followed by choking. Tateno with a school girl out of nowhere for a two count, and now it's Saito's turn to work her over. Yamakazi tags in, and slaps on a modified surfboard on Saito. Irish whip, and Yamakazi with a running high knee, then goes back to the head scissors. Saito wastes no-time fighting back, and clamps on her own head scissors. That move might be the most over-used move of the match. Nakano tags in, and works over Tateno with boots and a knee drop. Tateno comes back with a crossbody press and a missile dropkick for a two count. The Angels with a double team suplex/knee drop, followed by a double dropkick to Nakano. Saito comes in and falls victim to some more dropkicks for a two count. The Angels continue working over Saito until Nakano beats on Yamakazi with a pair of nunchukus. No disqualification for that? Nakano with a suplex for a two count. Irish whip, and Yamakazi comes off the ropes with a cross body press. Tateno with the hot tag, and she stomps away on Nakano. The action spills out of the ring, and it's chaos until everyone is counted out at 11:14. I guess this was a No DQ match, since the referee ignored Nakano again using the nunchukus as a weapon. Match was alright, but hard to sit through with the volume on because of the high-pitch screaming from all four women. Match of the Tape, by the way... yes, it's all downhill from this point.
- We travel (or quick cut) to Kuwait City, where Mr. Fuji is beating the crap out of some generic scrub who doesn't even get an introduction other than "this guy Mr. Fuji is beating the crap out of." Edited down to about two minutes worth of action, and the commentary is once again from it's origin source, so it's kind of like listening to the Iron Sheik trying to speak English. Mr. Fuji wins with a Cobra Clutch, next please.
The Killer Bees vs. Iron Mike Sharpe & Barry O:
From the October 19th, 1985 card held at the Hiran Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico, a show notable for being held outdoors, and a rainstorm taking place midway through. Gorilla Monsoon is calling the action, and it's sadly the only english commentary for any of the matches on the whole tape. The ring is incredibly small, and the rain is washing away whatever the canvas is made of, so the environment is quite slippery looking. Poor referee Joey Marella is SOAKED, no doubt probably the only referee on the entire card. Or at least it looks like him, it's hard to tell with the rain. Brunzell starts with Sharpe, working him over with a wristlock. The action goes to the corner, and we get heel miscommunication. Blair tags in and goes to work on the arm, as well. Irish whip, and a double elbow from the Bees for a two count. Barry O takes Brunzell over with a snapmare and drops an elbow. Brunzell returns the favor and Blair tags back in, ramming Barry O into the corner. Sharpe tags back in and clubs Brunzell across the neck with his forearm brace. O and Brunzell slug it out as the referee slips and falls. Brunzell with a small package, and it's over at 4:11. Considering the circumstances, you can't blame them for the lack of attempting anything more, and going home really fast, but putting it on a tape that costs something like $60? Whatever.
The Ultimate Warrior vs. Hercules:
From Milan, Italy, sometime after WrestleMania IV. I've seen my share of matches between the two, and my only hope is for this to be really short. It's always weird to watch early Warrior videos, since he still hasn't quite developed his traditional, maniacal, quirks. He's just some overly muscled guy who wears paint and cuts some of the worst promos ever. They go nose-to-nose, grunting and screaming. Warrior's face paint is Red, White, and Green, a nice nod to the colors of the Italian flag. Lockup, and no one gets any kind of advantage from it. Warrior shoves Hercules to the corner on the third lockup, and poses. Hercules comes off the ropes with a shoulder, but Warrior no-sells, then comes off the ropes with his own, and that takes Hercules off his feet. Slugfest, won by Warrior, followed by a clothesline. Warrior with the press slam, but he splashes the knees. Was there a bad edit job or something, cause Warrior's face paint is practically wiped clean. Hercules slaps on the Full Nelson, but he doesn't have the fingers locked. Warrior escapes, so Hercules knocks him out of the ring. They slug it out some more until we get the official decision: a double count-out, at what I think is a heavily clipped 4:24. The match seemed to magically go from the early match shenanigans to the finish, without any kind of a middle. Maybe someone saw the full version, thought "holy crap this is awful", and cut it down to a watchable level.
"Hacksaw" Jim Duggan vs. Andre The Giant:
Pulled from the same card as the previous match, and as hard as it is to believe, most of the matches I've seen between these two were quite watchable, even good in some cases. Andre does some extensive stalling before finally getting in the ring to start the match. Duggan uses his speed advantage, at least in comparison to Andre, circa 1988. Duggan charges, but Andre wipes him out with one blow. Andre corners Duggan and slaps him across the chest, and a headbutt sends Duggan out of the ring. Andre gives a "Ho!" to quite a mixed response, in my opinion. Back in the ring, and Andre with choking. Duggan escapes with rights, but Andre takes him down with a knee to the face. Into the corner, and Andre crushes Duggan against the turnbuckle. Duggan escapes a second attempt, then mounts Andre with rights, taking the big man off his feet in the process. Andre regains control of the match, choking away. Andre changes things up, turning it into a front facelock, before going back to the fine art of choking. Duggan fights out again, using a flury of roundhouse rights to trap Andre in the ropes. Andre manages to free himself from the ropes and works Duggan over with chops. We get a chant for "Hogan", which is never a good sign for the guy actually wrestling. Andre lays Duggan out with a headbutt, but misses a falling version of the same. Duggan charges into a big boot, and Andre falls on top of Duggan for the three count at 6:56. Remember when I said these two usually had good matches? Well, this wasn't one of them. Andre chokes Duggan more, as the crowd keeps chanting for Hogan.
- We recycle something that probably came from Tuesday Night Titans or an episode of Saturday Night's Main Event. Gene Okerlund is standing by, with the likes of Ricky "the Dragon" Steamboat (long gone by the time this tape was released), Paul Roma, and Special Delivery Jones, walking around Busch Gardens or something that has a walking trail petting zoo exhibit.
- We stretch for more time, by pooling together a bunch of vignettes featuring everyones favorite Aussie, Outback Jack. I don't know how fans were anticipating him as it happened, but looking back, I just don't see what was supposed to make Outback Jack a big star. He had a very bad look, he was hard to understand when he talked, and he had absolutely no flash in the ring. Being a good wrestler wasn't a must, but being able to get reactions through your body language is somewhat a requirement, and he had nothing. It's no surprise he was turned into a JTTS after about a month. Too bad that tag team with Hillbilly Jim never took off.
Junkyard Dog vs. King Harley Race:
Pulled from the October 23rd, 1987 card held in Paris, France, and Andre the Giant is making his third appearance on the tape, acting as the guest referee for the match... that makes a whole hell of a lot of sense. Lockup into the ropes, and JYD avoids some cheap shots. JYD takes a shot at Race, and gets yelled at by the special referee for it. That's going to be the trend of the match, by the way. Lockup into the corner for a second time, and this time Race gets whipped to the corner, and tumbles out, to the floor. Back inside, and Race takes control, taking JYD over with a gut-wrench suplex. JYD no-sells a headbutt, and you can just throw in your own racially insensitive hoke here. JYD with a standing side headlock, but Race breaks the hold by grabbing the ropes. YAWN! JYD takes things to the corner, but Andre pulls him away, because rules of the match says he has to. Race takes control again, and drops an elbow for a two count. Race slaps on a chinlock as I hit the fast forward button. JYD fights free and takes Race down with a Russian leg sweep, but Andre refuses to count the pin attempt. Race controls, JYD fights back, hits the Thump Powerslam, and Andre refuses to count again. Race with the belly-to-belly suplex, but he misses a headbutt. JYD with his signature headbutts, then Andre kicks him out of the ring and calls for a Disqualification at 10:17, for whatever fucking reason. Possibly the worst match I have ever seen featuring Harley Race. Just an embarassment. I think Junkyard Dog might be one of my least favorite wrestlers of all time, or at least the least favorite to recap matches of. His WWF stuff is just that bad. Almost makes me want to watch a bunch of Barbarian matches.
The Rougeau Brothers vs. The New Dream Team:
(Jacques & Raymond Rougeau vs. Greg Valentine & Dino Bravo)
Final match on the tape, and we're back in Paris, France. We're joined in progress, with Valentine and Bravo doing the double-up on Raymond behind the referee's back. Valentine with a shoulder breaker for a two count. They do the "pin the shoulders down until getting a knee to the junk" spot, which I really need to come up with a name for. Bravo tags in, and works over Raymond with very little of note. Irish whip, and Bravo slaps on le Beat Hug. Valentine tags back in, takes Raymond over with a snapmare, and goes for the Figure-Four. Raymond counters with an inside cradle, but barely gets a count for it. Valentine with a front facelock, and I think we all know what the spot is... and it's changed a BIT, as Jacques gets the tag, but the referee rejects it, because his feet were NOT on the canvas at the time. Ouch. That spot was typically done for Hart Foundation matches at the time, and at least changes up the terrible "blind referee" mentality. Raymond continues to take punishment, and it's just so boring, I have no choice but to sit back and wait for things to finally end. Raymond surprises Valentine with a back slide for a two count. Slugfest, won by the Hammer. Bravo tags in and is taken over with a sunset flip for a two count. Bravo gets up first and lays Raymond out with the side suplex, but misses an elbow drop. Jacques FINALLY gets the hot tag and hammers away on the Hammer (pun intended). Jacques with a back drop and dropkick to Bravo, followed by a dropkick to Valentine. Jacques with a scoop slam and second rope forearm to Valentine for a two count. Everyone gets into the action now, and it's chaos. Bravo nails Jacques from behind and puts him down with a double slam, but Raymond surprises everyone and takes Valentine down with a sunset flip for the three count at 9:36. Finally! Match was long and boring, and God only knows what the full match was like.
Final Thoughts: When I first did a recap of this tape, I thought I might've been a little too harsh, but nope, I think my negative perception on the whole thing was fairly accurate and justifiable. There was one match of quality wrestling, a couple that were acceptable as a novelty and for short duration, but the rest is like a steaming pile of dog diarrhea that's been baking under a hot Florida sun during the dog days of August. I stand by my original opinion that this might be the worst tape ever released from Coliseum Video. The only positive recommendation I can give is the opener and Women's tag are a good 20-minutes, and then burn the tape the moment that second match ends.
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