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Coliseum Video: Best of the WWF Vol. 2

by Scrooge McSuck

- The hits just keep on coming! We're skipping over the Andre The Giant release, as it's been reviewed before by myself. I'm sure it could use a redo because of the lazier effort put behind it, but I'm not in love with re-watching 10 Andre The Giant matches in a row, when my opinion on all of them is not going to change.

For those with a short attention span, the original Best of... tape put out, for the most part, a pretty decent effort of important matches and showcasing the top stars of the WWF. Best of #2... looking at it on paper, not so much. But you can never judge a book by it's cover, right? Yes, I'm aware I started a sentence with "but", so sue me.

- Gorilla Monsoon is our host for this installment, but there's nothing much more I can add to that, so let's head into our first feature on this release...

WWF Tag Team Championship Match:
Tony Atlas & Rocky Johnson vs. Dick Murdoch & Adrian Adonis:

Pulled from a television taping in the Spring of 1984. Johnson takes over Adonis with a pair of arm drags, then does the same to Murdoch, before clamping on an armbar on Adonis. Adonis comes off the ropes and gets slammed down for his efforts, and Johnson takes him over and goes back to the armbar. Vince McMahon and Gene Okerlund are calling the action, a unique combination, I must say. Murdoch gets the tag in, and suffers the same fate as Adonis. Atlas tags in and goes to work on the arm as well. Murdoch kips up(!) to escape, but Atlas takes him back down with the wristlock. Murdoch takes it to the corner and unloads with rights. Whip to the corner is reversed, and Murdoch with an elbow to the face. Adonis tags in and pounds away on Atlas with lefts and knees to the midsection. Irish whip, and a double elbow from the challengers. Atlas slugs it out with Murdoch and connects with a headbutt. Adonis catches Atlas near the ropes and hangs him across the top rope. Adonis tags in and hammers away s'more, but Atlas with a headbutt, and a tag out to Johnson. He connects with a dropkick, then pounds away on both men. Johnson with a boston crab on Adonis, but Murdoch boots him from behind. Johnson headbutts Adonis over the top rope, but gets rolled up from behind while working over Murdoch, and the three count is made at 4:53, giving us NEW Tag Team Champions. *1/2 Not much of a match in terms of workrate, but you've got to love being able to see rare title changes like these that haven't exactly been showcased a lot on modern releases or on their OnDemand service.

WWF Intercontinental Championship Match:
Pedro Morales vs. The Magnificent Muraco:

From the January 22nd, 1983 card held at Madison Square Garden. Muraco attacks during the introductions, but Morales fights him off and rips his shirt off, mostly. Morales whips Muraco with his belt, even after the bell rang. Where's the Disqualification?! Morales rips the rest of the shirt off and throws Muraco across the ring, using it as leverage around his neck. Sounds like Vince McMahon and Gorilla Monsoon calling the action. Muraco hides in the corner, but Morales won't let him have too much time to gather himself, and surprises him with a sunset flip for a two count. Morales sends Muraco out of the ring with a roundhouse right, then rams him into the ring apron several times. Muraco ends up doing a Flair Flop off the apron, to the concrete floor. Now that's being a master of your craft. Morales heads to the top rope, but Muraco rolls under the apron to avoid further punishment. Don't see that very often. Back in the ring, and Morales continues stalking Muraco. Morales slaps on a headlock, then puts a boot to the back of the head. Morales with a hammerlock, but Muraco goes low, mule-kick style, to finally break Morales' momentum. Muraco uses a piece of the torn shirt to choke Morales, but Morales returns the favor of going low. Monsoon: It doesn't make it right, but it makes it even. Whip to the corner, but Morales hits his knee on the buckle attempting whatever-the-fuck he was doing. Muraco attacks the left leg and snaps over it from the top rope. Clip to Muraco going for a Figure Four or spinning toe hold, but Morales kicks Muraco off into the ring post. Morales hammers away and takes Muraco down with a back breaker, but he uses the injured knee, and sells the effects of the move himself. Morales goes for the Boston crab, but he can't handle the pressure of putting the weight on his leg. Morales goes for a slam, but Muraco falls on top, and gets the three count at a clipped down 8:25. **1/2 Again, not exactly a workrate masterpiece, but Morales' intensity shined despite his limited "move set", Muraco played the cowardly heel doing everything he can to avoid the wrath of his opponent, and the leg work actually worked into the finish and resulted in a title change.

Pedro Morales vs. Killer Kowalski:

From sometime 1974, and I have no idea why this one is being shown. I guess it's a Retro Flashback or something, as I seem to recall more of the "Best of..." tapes taking us way back in time for random old school matches. Lockup into the corner, and Kowalski hammers away, then chokes. Gorilla Monsoon mentions Kowalski's professional wrestling school during the pre-match introductions. Kowalski clips the knee from under Morales and stomps away on the left leg before slapping a claw hold on the leg. Jesse Ventura is calling the action, but it sounds so weird to hear him going solo on a match about ten years old at the point of the video release date. Kowalski continues to work the leg over, using little more than kicks and punches. Morales fights back with roundhouse blows, but isn't following up, allowing Kowalski to catch his breath. Kowalski goes back to the leg and wraps it around the middle rope. Morales fights back again and rams Kowalski into the buckle, then clubs him across the back of the head a handful of times. Kowalski surprises Morales and quickly clamps on the Claw. Clip to Kowalski putting the boots to Morales more, then more claw holds. Morales fights back again, but there's just nothing to talk about. Kowalski and this match have the same thing in common, both bite. Morales returns the favor and uses his fist some more. Irish whip and Morales with a back drop. Kowalski stops the momentum with the claw-hold and more biting. The action spills outside, and we get a double count-out at a clipped down 8:30. Morales gets violent and chokes away, despite the match being over. Whatever. No Rating due to the era it came from, but let's say, it's a good cure for insomnia and we'll just move on from there.

- We get some midget wrestling, but I'm not in the mood for it. Let's just say it's a waste of about ten minutes, and move on once again...

Chief Jay Strongbow vs. Prof. Toru Tanaka:

Another WAYBAC match, but not as far as the previous. From December 19th, 1977, but I'm unsure of the location. I remember Tanaka mostly for his brief role in Pee-Wee's Big Adventure as the fat rich guy's butler/bodyguard. Lockup, and Tanaka grabs a headlock. Criss-cross sequence ends with nothing happening. Monsoon admits in the introduction that this match is going to be boring. Thanks for the heads up, Gorilla. Lord Alfred Hayes has commentary dubbed over, and yes, he's going solo. Goofy spot has Strongbow hault Tanaka's momentum, then slap him. Oh...kay. Lockup and a clean break. Tanaka tries the same thing Strongbow did, but it doesn't work. Am I watching another midget match, or something? My God, this is boring the shit out of me. Tanaka has an armbar applied, and the crowd keeps doing indian war-cries. Strongbow with a head scissors to escape. Tanaka with an over-head wristlock, but Strongbow manages to counter. UGLY shoulder block sell from Strongbow, then he catches Tanaka coming off the ropes with a chop for a two count. The referee of the match looks like Mac from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I'm THAT bored. Tanaka works the arm some more, and the war cries continue. Strongbow escapes, then slaps on a head scissors. CLIP to Tanaka working a nerve hold. Strongbow Indian's-Up and dances around the ring. Strongbow with a pair of knee lifts. hip to the corner, and Strongbow chops away. Tanaka sends Strongbow to the corner and hammers away, then reaches into his tights for some powder, but the referee stops him and calls for the bell at 8:42, giving Strongbow the victory by Disqualification. Terrible. DUD I will be generous and not go into a negatives scale for this, but to use a tired cliche, that's ten minutes of my life I won't be getting back.

A WWF Musical Interlude!

First, we get clips of Capt. Lou Albano playing the piano, and the camera cuts in real tight on the hands as he's playing, so I'm going to safely assume he really knows how to play the damn thing. Not too bad.

The same CANNOT be said for Mean Gene Okerlund singing Tutti Frutti, and yes, he plays the piano too, but here he has Hulk Hogan playing bass guitar to play along with the TNT Studio Band. I believe this song was on the original Wrestling Album. That isn't me telling ANYONE to listen to it, by the way. It's a mix of comedy and bad singing, and some of the stuff was used as entrance music, like the Hillbillie's "Don't Go Messin' With a Country Boy."

WWF Intercontinental Championship Match:
Tito Santana vs. "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff:

From the Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis, MO, from the September 1st, 1984 card. Not a bad pairing of talent, considering how few and far between good workers were around this time, especially in the WWF. Lockup, with intensity, but no one gets the better of it. Orndorff with a headlock, followed by a shoulder block. Santana catches Orndorff with a pair of arm drags, sending Orndorff running. The crowd is really hot already, and the match is just starting. There's a handful of "Paula" signs, which seems weird, since almost no one brought signs to wrestling events back then. Back inside, and Santana traps Orndorff in a hammerlock. Orndorff escapes with a take over, but Santana catches Orndorff in a head scissors. Lockup, and Santana with an overhead wristlock. Santana works it hard, finally taking Orndorff down to the canvas. Santana with a knee into the arm-pit, then slaps on an armbar. Orndorff muscles back to his feet, but gets taken down with a shoulder block and arm drag, and then it's back to the wristlock. Orndorff's tights say "O.P." on the back for some reason... just an observation. Orndorff escapes with a pair of elbows to the side of the head, and Santana really knows how to sell. Orndorff misses an elbow drop, and Santana goes back to work on the arm. CLIP! Santana is still rocking an armbar, but at least he's not laying around like a slug. Doing anything rather than nothing makes a resthold tolerable. Orndorff escapes and connects with an inverted atomic drop. Orndorff puts the boots to the back of the head of Santana as we get a replay of the previous action. Orndorff with a knee into the back of the neck, using the ropes for leverage. Orndorff drags Santana off the canvas and hits him with a knee lift, sending him out of the ring in the process. Orndorff follows out and connects with an atomic drop.

Back in the ring, and Orndorff hangs Santana across the top rope. Orndorff puts the boots to the ribs of Santana, knocking him back to the floor. Santana with a shoulder into the midsection, but Orndorff blocks a sunset flip attempt and jabs him right between the eyes. Santana with rights and elbows to the midsection, but Orndorff rakes the eyes to break the momentum, and slaps on a chinlock, driving a knee into the back for extra leverage. Santana fights back up to his feet and drives an elbow to the midsection, then connects with a knee lift. Santana with a headlock, and Orndorff counters with a back suplex for a sloooow two count. Irish whip, and Santana comes back with a cross body for another slow two count. Orndorff unloads with a pair of forearms for a two count, and Santana's momentum of kicking out sends Orndorff to the floor. Santana pounds on the kidneys of Orndorff as he re-enters the ring, but misses an elbow drop. Orndorff measures Santana up and drops a knee across the forehead. Orndorff to the top rope, and a splash meets the knees of Santana. Santana with a sledge to the top of the head, followed by a series of rights. Santana with a scoop slam, then slingshots Orndorff into the turnbuckle. Santana with a big right for a two count. Santana hits the ropes and Orndorff kills him with a clothesline, but that only gets two. Orndorff stomps away, looking quite stiff. Whip to the corner, and Orndorff knees a charging Santana, but the bell reings at a clipped 14:27 before a pin attempt could be completed. The result? Time Limit Draw! Whatever. ***1/4 Pretty good match with plenty of intensity, a hot crowd, and not a dull moment. Tito Santana is easily one of the most under-appreciated talents of his time. Everyone seems to only remember him in a role of JTTS for the latter part of his WWF career, and for being the butt of countless jokes at the hands of Jesse Ventura and Bobby Heenan.

Some Surprise Endings!!!

Rocky Johnson is taking on the Magnificent Muraco at the Philadelphia Spectrum, and gets disqualified for accidentally bopping the referee, who got in the way of the action.

Bobo Brazil beats Freddie Blassie in a match from as far back as the early 60's, when Blassie gets his leg caught in the ropes, from the outside, and counted-out in the process.

Post-Match shenanigans from a squash featuring Andre The Giant. His opponent, The Black Demon, attacks afterwards while Andre is signing autographs. Andre grabs him by the mask and chucks him across the ring, unmasking him in the process. The crowd gathered close to the ring scurry to catch a glimps at the unmasked scrub.

Gorilla Monsoon is the special referee in a match between the Moondogs and Rick Martel & Tony Garea. Monsoon gets fed up with the Moondogs and whoops their hides, allowing the Aus-Can Connection to retain their Tag Team Titles. Don't know the point of all of this. They could've filled out the tape with better stuff, since about 10-minutes is devoted to this entire section.

WWF Tag Team Championship Match:
Rick Martel & Tony Garea vs. Mr. Fuji & Mr. Saito (w/ Capt. Lou Albano):

Pulled from WWF television, originally broadcasted on Halloween, 1981, but taped a few weeks earlier, from Allentown, PA. It's always hard to remember that Martel's career in the WWF spanned the late 70's-early 80's, on top of his more familiar run among fans my age, who grew up watching him in the late 80's through early 90's. Albano is dressed in "oriental attire", according to Monsoon's introduction. Martel and Fuji lockup, and a criss-cross leads to a Martel arm drag, followed by a scoop slam. Martel with a pair of arm drags on Fuji, then takes over Saito and slaps on an armbar. Garea tags in and works the arm with a wristlock, then drops a leg across the left arm and slaps on an armbar. Saito reaches for some hair, but Garea shrugs him off. Irish whip, and Garea with a shoulder block. Saito with a hip toss, but Garea pushes him off with a mule kick, then goes to work on the left arm of Fuji. Martel tags in and works the arm, as well. Irish whip, and Martel with a high cross body for a two count. Martel with an arm drag, then back to the armbar. Garea comes off the middle rope with an elbow, but gets hit low. Saito tags in and is quickly taken down with an arm drag. Saito takes it to the corner na dhammers away with rights. Fuji tags in and floors Garea with a chop. Saito with a slam for a two count, followed by a pair of chops to the neck. Irish whip, and Saito with a back drop for another two count. Fuji tags in and continues to punish the Aussie. Irish whip, and Fuji catches him coming with a big chop. Saito boots Garea in the ribs and covers for a two count. Saito with choking and more stomping for another two count. Fuji tags back in and uses the usual "martial arts" offense. Saito comes off the second rope with chops to the back, then covers for two. Martel runs in with a cheap shot, but that only allows the heels to double team as the referee escorts him out of the ring. Garea fights free of a nerve hold and puts Fuji down with a powerslam, but he misses a dropkick, and Saito tags in to cover for a two count. Saito with a scoop slam for another two count. Saito to the middle turnbuckle for a knee drop, and that gets two, as well. Saito slaps on a front facelock. Martel runs in again to help, but that allows more double teaming. Whip to the corner, and Saito misses a charge. Martel gets the HOT tag and unloads on Saito, throwing him across the ring with an arm drag, then taking him down with a head scissors. Whip to the ropes and Garea comes in with a sunset flip for a two count. Martel in with a running dropkick, and Garea with a dropkick to Fuji. Garea with a back drop on Saito and Martel heads to the top rope, but Fuji tosses salt in his eyes as he comes off, and Saito rolls through the cross body for the three count and Tag Team Championship at 9:46. What was this, the 10th team Albano managed to the Tag Team Titles? ** Not a great match or anything, but it was very lively and I'm a sucker for all the near falls. Pretty cool finish too, as Fuji tossed the salt into the eyes of Martel, mid-air. Vince McMahon gets all "angry voice" over the whole situation. He reminds me of his appearance in Beyond The Mat, where he encourages Droz to vomit in front of him.

Final Thoughts: Interesting tape, compared to the first "Best of..." Not a whole lot of the main event level talent is showcased, nearly half-an-hour is dedicated to vintage matches and midgets, and stuff like the musical interlude and strange finishes. On the positive side, we've got three rare title changes, all three matches are watchable at the least, and there's a pretty kick ass match between Santana and Orndorff. Not the most impressive tape, but it's got enough good stuff to warrant a recommendation. Just fast forward that middle half-hour though. It would put anyone to sleep who dares sit through all of it.

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