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Coliseum Video: Best of the WWF Vol. 5

by Scrooge McSuck

- Just like that, we're back with the Best of the WWF Series, as the last video recapped was the fourth version of the set, and we've skipped a bunch of tapes I have no way of recapping and have never seen.

- "Mean" Gene Okerlund is the host of this Best of Installment. That's all you need to know, as we head to our first match of the video...

- Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat vs. The Magnificent Muraco (w/ Mr. Fuji):

From the November 25th, 1985 card held at Madison Square Garden. I don't know for sure, but this might have been Muraco's last meaningful feud before his babyface turn in the summer of 1987. Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura are calling the action. Since the last Coliseum Video review, Steamboat went from a normal looking wrestler to coming to the ring in his karate jacket and headband. Lockup to start, and Muraco with a side headlock. Irish whip, and a criss-cross ends with Steamboat hitting Muraco with an enziguri. Lockup into the corner, and Muraco with a knee to the midsection. Muraco with a snapmare, followed by a knee drop. Steamboat fights back, takes Muraco over with his own snapmares, and rolls over with a neck snap, a la Curt Hennig. Steamboat with an ear smack, and it's time for Muraco to take a vacation outside the ring. Back inside, and Steamboat surprises Muraco with a crescent kick. Steamboat with another snapmare, then applies a vicious chinlock. The kind that looks like it does hurt. The camera pans the crowd, and Tiger Ali Singh appears to be sitting at ringside. Muraco escapes with an elbow to the midsection, then drops Steamboat with a shoulder block. Steamboat retaliates with chops, sending Muraco out of the ring once again. Lockup into the corner, and Muraco hammers away. Whip across the ring is reversed, and Steamboat takes Muraco over with a back drop, then takes him down with a pair of arm drags and a drop toe hold before appliyng a chinlock. Muraco tries to fight to his feet, but Steamboat starts driving his knee into the neck, then cranks on Muraco's nose! Steamboat releases, then applies a front facelock. Steamboat really works the hold, dragging Muraco down to the canvas with him. Muraco breaks the hold with a reverse atomic drop, then drops Steamboat with a clothesline.

Muraco with a series of blows to the neck, then sends Steamboat into the steel ring post. Steamboat blades, and it's running really nicely down his face. Muraco takes a bite out of his face, then digs at the cut with his thumb. Muraco dumps Steamboat through the ropes, then follows out to continue to bring the punishment. Muraco hooks the legs, then slingshots Steamboat into the post. Muraco takes another bite out of the Dragon, and rams him into the ring post once more. Muraco's wearing some of Steamboat's blood on his face, now. Steamboat climbs back on the apron and gets flung back in for his troubles. Muraco to the second rope, and he connects with a sledge to the neck, then rakes the face. Steamboat throws a few chops, driving Muraco into the corner. Steamboat unloads with everything he's got, but a whip to the corner is reversed, and Muraco connects with a clothesline. Muraco hammers away, then dumps Steambouat out of the ring. Fuji tries to use the cane, but Steamboat blocks and grabs it himself. Steamboat and Muraco have a tug-of-war with it until Steamboat mule kicks Muraco into the referee. Muraco misses a few cane shots, and Steamboat takes him down with an enziguri. Steamboat grabs the cane and jams it into the face of Muraco, drawing a Disqualification at 16:07. Steamboat continues working Muraco over with it, snapping it across his back in the process. Steamboat gets all fancy with then, then starts digging the broken end of the cane into the face of Muraco, who has bladed by this point, as well. The referee finally takes the cane away as Muraco rolls out of the ring to safety, but he's still the victor here. Then he comes BACK for more, and they roll around the ring, and spill to the arena floor, with Steamboat beating the crap out of him. ***1/2 Started off slowly, but not in a "come on and do something way", as the psychology of Muraco making Steamboat sweat it out didn't come across as boring. The match picked up quite well, and kept a steady pace, but wasn't earth-shattering good, or anything. Not a fan of cop-out finishes, but the hot, intense post-match action really made up for it as well. These two kept working the house show circuit for a good couple of months after this.

The Killer Bees vs. The Hart Foundation (w/ Jimmy Hart):

(B. Brian Blair & Jim Brunzell vs. Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart)
From a Television Taping, sometime in the Fall of 1985, so this might be one of the earliest (of many) matches between these two teams to be broadcasted on television. Blair and Hart lockup into the corner, and Bret drives a knee into the midsection. Irish whip is reversed, and Blair connects with a powerslam. Neidhart runs in and gets slammed as well. Blair sends Bret into the Anvil with an atomic drop. Blair with a wristlock, and in comes Brunzell to slap an armbar on Hart. Irish whip, and Brunzell fights his way into position for a sunset flip, getting a two count. Brunzell takes him over and goes back to the arm. Irish whip, and Bret connects with an elbow. Neidhart tags in and slaps on a headlock. Brunzell fights free, but runs right into a bear-hug. Brunzell with an ear smack to escape, and in comes Blair to hammer away. Irish whip is reversed, and Bret with a knee to the back of Blair. Bret tags in and connects with a headbutt, followed by a back breaker and a leg drop. Bret traps Blair in the ropes, but misses whatever the hell he tried to do. Brunzell gets the hot tag and connects with a running elbow for a two count. Irish whip, and Brunzell with his signature dropkick. Neidhart breaks the pin, and now everyone brawls in the ring until we get a Double Disqualification at 4:35 for not following the referee's rules or whatever. ** Perfectly acceptable television match. We all know what these two teams were capable of with 15-20 minutes to work with, though.

The Killer Bees & Paul Orndorff vs. The Hart Foundation & Barry O (w/ Jimmy Hart):

It's the rematch, from a few weeks later in television time. Odd... the Bees went out and get a top of the card babyface, and the Foundation gets Barry O. I declare shenanigans on that one! We're Joined in Progress, with Hart working Brunzell over in the heels corner. We get the obvious triple teaming until Orndorff and Blair run around the ring and try to break things up. Bret with a back breaker on Brunzell, then with a stomp to the midsection. Bret slaps on a front facelock, then tags in Barry O. Brunzell quickly escapes his wrath and tags in Orndorff, who hammers anything that moves. Orndorff with an elbow to Orton, hoists him into the air, and Brunzell connects with his dropkick for the three count at a butchered 1:34. What was even the point of including this? DUD The full match is only a few minutes longer, but that's still more than the 90-seconds of nothing featured here.

The British Bulldogs (w/ Capt. Lou Albano) vs. The Dream Team (w/ Johnny Valiant):

(Davey Boy Smith & Dynamite Kid vs. Greg Valentine & Brutus Beefcake)
Non-Title Match, from another Television Taping, around the Fall of 1985-86. The Dream Team won the titles at the Spectrum from the U.S. Express, with a little help from Johnny Valiant's cigar. Valentine and Dynamite Kid start with a lockup, but no one gets an advantage out of it. DK with a side headlock, and a shoulder block sends Valentine into the ropes. Lockup iinto the corner, and the momentum takes Valentine into his own partner, by accident. Davey Boy and Beefcake both tag in, and they lockup. Davey Boy quickly goes to work on the arm, taking Beefcake down to the canvas. Beefcake tries to escape with a slam, but Davey Boy holds onto the arm. DK tags back in and comes off the top with a double axehandle. Davey Boy heads to the top with an axehandle as well, then slaps on a wristlock. Beefcake rakes the eyes to escape. Irish whip, and Davey Boy connects with dropkicks to both men, then slams Beefcake for a two count. Beefcake with a series of blows to the midsection, and now Valentine is tagged back in. Irish whip, and a double elbow from the Dream Team gets two Valentine with a scoop and a slam, but he misses an elbow. Dynamite tags in and hammers away on both men. Double noggin-knocker! Irish whip and a stiff clothesline to Valentine, followed by a back breaker for a two count. Dynamite with a headbutt for another two count. Dynamite heads up once more, but Valiant shoves him off for the Disqualification at 4:12. *1/2 Decent enough television match, but these two teams had another television match with the same amount of time and nearly tore the roof of the place in the process. This one, not so much.

- Fuji General, starring The Magnificent Muraco and Mr. Fuji - One of the many examples of Muraco and Fuji venturing out, trying to make a name for themselves in Hollywood. In this attempt at superstardom, they are casted into a soap opera that shockingly takes place in a hospital. Muraco's character is having an affair with a nurse, and Mr. Fuji is the (co)chief-of-staff. Muraco delivers his lines so fast and with so little emotion, it's hilarious, but you can tell he's having a good time too, doing his best to hide his own laughter. The director isn't laughing though (a guy recast over and over, most notably as the Doctor who gave shock therapy to George Steele), and constantly berates Muraco for his poor acting. Fuji is even worse, delivering straight lines with his heavy accent. The whole thing ends with them being shown the door, and them not understanding why. Hilarious, but they had one that was off-the-charts wonderful later on.

And now, it's time for the "showing Wendi Richter the door" segment of the tape...

WWF Womens Championship Match:
Wendi Richter (w/ Cyndi Lauper) vs. Leilani Kai (w/ Fabulous Moolah):

[Special Edition Version]
From the February 18th, 1985 card held at Madison Square Garden, the special "War To Settle The Score" that aired on MTV. This happened to be the Co-Main Event, thanks to the involvement of Lauper. Kai attacks before Richter can get her gear off and slams her face-first into the canvas. Lauper seems lost, hanging out on the apron. Kai continues choking Richter with her jacket. Sorry, but polka dots do NOT work on a woman, even if they're skinny. Kai with a snapmare and some hair pulling. Kai pulls out King Kong Bundy's move-set by stepping on the hand, but Richter pulls the legs from under Kai, and plants her with a slam. Richter with a crummy leg drop for a two count. They tussle into the corner, and a body charge is won by Richter. She follows with a splash, but that only gets a two count. Richter with a suplex for another two count. Kai sweeps the legs from under Richter and turns her over into a Boston crab. Richter counters, and Kai counters back into a pin attempt for a two count. We go into the corner, and Richter wth a series of knees to the midsection. Richter sets her up for the Shattered Dreams and rams another shoulder into the midsection. She tries again, but Kai moves, and Richter posts herself. Kai with a double under-hook suplex for a two count. Kai with a snapmare, followed by a leg drop, but Richter brought the legs up to block, I guess. Richter continues to work Richter over, but a charge misses, and she spills out of the ring. Moolah takes a kick from Richter for her troubles. Richter brings her back in the ring with a suplex for a two count. Richter slams Kai face-first into the canvas and applies a bow-and-arrow surfboard, but can barely get Kai off the ground with it. Richter's shoulders are down, but the referee doesn't count, a point Monsoon likes pointing out. Richter with another crummy surfboard. Richter with an armbar. This match is really dragging... Irish whip, and Kai with a boot to the chest. Kai with a front facelock, but i speculate there's some choking going on, too. Richter blocks a boot and pulls the rug from under Kai, then covers for two. Richter with a pair of knees for another two count. Irish whip, and Richter with a cross body for two. Richter with a boot and splash for another two count. Moolah goes after Lauper outside the ring, and here comes Richter to break things up. Moolah sucker punches her, and Kai rolls her up for the three count and Women's Title at 11:51. *1/2 Match dragged pretty badly at times, but it was okay for the most part. I guess it was better than whatever they tried to go for at WrestleMania.

WWF Women's Championship Match:
Wendi Richter vs. The Spider Lady:

Our second match pulled from the November 25th, 1985 Madison Square Garden card, and this one is pretty famous. Remember Montreal? Bret Hart? Well, it happened before, and this is it. We're Joined in Progress for this one. Richter connects with a dropkick, then tosses Spider with a hip toss. Richter botches a head scissors, and Spider Lady covers for a two count. Spider Lady puts the boots to Richter and rams her into the turnbuckle. Spider Lady with some hair pulling, and bops Richter with her gut. Irish whip, and Richter with a clothesline for a two count. Spider Lady with a sloppy cradle, and... we get a three count? What was that, indeed, Gorilla. Richter attacks after the match and pulls off the mask, and it's revealed to be the Fabulous Moolah. Richter continues doing stuff, and hits with a back breaker, then covers, but the match is over. For those who've never heard the story, here's the totally blown out of proportion version... Richter wanted more money, Vince gave her an offer she couldn't refuse, she refused it, then went out for this match and was screwed over, never to be seen again... until showing up, without much notice, at WrestleMania 25 for a "Diva Battle Royale" where she barely got any recognition. So Bret Hart, remember, you were only the second person to truely be betrayed in the middle of performing your art.

WWF Intercontinental Championship Match:
Tito Santana vs. Jesse "The Body" Ventura:

From the September 22nd, 1985 card at the Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Ontario. I forgot that Ventura had a very brief return to the ring around this time, but I don't think he did much, if anything, noteworthy. Santana offers Ventura a rose, and Ventura tucks it into his ski cap. Ventura with some stalling to start, then poses to a mild babyface reaction. Maybe they think it's Hulk Hogan with an evil goatee. Lockup into the corner, and Santana gives a reluctant clean break. Lockup into the ropes, and Ventura gives a clean break, as well. "That's how you do it, Chico!" Santana with a waist-lock, but Ventura makes it to the ropes. Lockup, and Ventura slaps on an overhand wristlock. Santana counters into a hammerlock, and Ventura grabs the ropes once more. Lockup, and Ventura works the arm. Crowd chants "Jesse!" as Santana escapes with a mule kick. Santana with a side headlock, and a shoulder block puts Ventura down? That's surprising. Santana goes back to the headlock, and cranks the neck. Irish whip, and Santana with another shoulder block. Ventura catches Santana coming off the ropes with a knee to the midsection. Ventura goes to work, doing very little worth noting, then tosses Santana to the arena floor. Gorilla mentions the camera work, so you know he has very little to work with. Ventura rams Santana's back into the side of the ring, then continues to play to the crowd. Back in the ring, and Santana with a series of blows to the midsection, but Ventura thumbs the eye. Ventura connects with a back breaker for a two count. Ventura with an atomic drop for another two count. Ventura puts the boots to Santana, taking his time in the process. Irish whip, and Ventura catches Santana in a bearhug. Santana with an ear smack to escape the hold. Santana rams Ventura into the canvas and mounts him for some punching. Irish whip, and Santana with a fist to the midsection. Santana applies the Figure-Four, but Ventura powers his way to the ropes, then rolls onto the ramp. Santana follows, and they brawl until we've got a Double Count-Out at 10:54. Everyone thinks Santana made it back in at the last minute, but no dice. * Match started out alright, but then slipped down pretty fast, thanks to Ventura's lack of ability to actually wrestle. Santana did his best to carry things, though.

8-Man Tag Team; 3 out of 5 Falls Match:
Andre The Giant, Rocky Johnson, Chief Jay Strongbow, Ivan Putski vs. The Wild Samoans & Big John Studd:

From the July 16th, 1983 card held at the Philadelphia Spectrum, and boy, did that show hold host to a bunch of these types of matches. The Samoans are Afa, Sika, and Samu(la), for those who can't keep track with all of our wrestlers from the same family from the islands.

Fall #1: Rocky Johnson and Samu start, with Johnson keeping him at bay with jabs. Lockup, and Samu with a side headlock. Irish whip, and Samu with a shoulder block. Criss-cross sequence, and Rocky with a back drop, followed by a dropkick and an arm drag. Afa tags in, and he goes to work on the arm. Johnson uses his athleticism to escape, and mule kicks Afa away. Gorilla Monsoon hypes a return match between Don Muraco and Jimmy Snuka on August 13th. John Studd tags in, as does Andre, so Studd tags back out to Sika. Andre doesn't care, and rams the two together. Andre with a headbutt and chop to Sika. Irish whip into Strongbow. Irish whip, and Strongbow slaps on a sleeper hold. Studd comes in from behind to break it, and that brings Andre in to pound away on anything that moves. The Samoans continue to wander around the ring, but they're no match for Andre The Giant. The bell rings, and apparently it's a Disqualification decision at 5:13, going against the team of Studd and the Samoans. LAME!

Fall #2: Jay Strongbow and Sika start. Studd grabs Strongbow from behind, allowing Sika to get a few cheap shots in. Sorry, that's Samu, apparently. Studd with more cheap shots from the apron. Sika tags back in, drops a headbutt, and that gets a three count at the 47-second mark. That was pretty fast.

Fall #3: Sika jumps Strongbow at the bell, and chops away. Irish whip, and Sika runs into a boot from Andre, and Strongbow covers for a three count at the 24-second mark. Rocky Johnson takes out Afa, after the fall, so the team of Andre has a 2-to-1 lead right now, and it only took us roughly 6-minutes to get that far into the falls.

Fall #4: Once again, Strongbow and Sika have to start, as they finished the falls for each fall at this point. The camera keeps panning to some of the ugliest fans you will find. Lockup, and Sika hammers away. Putski tags in for the first time, and unloads with rights on all the Samoans. Doubnle Noggin-Knocker... SOLD! Putski continues to pummel everyone, except for Studd, who's hiding on the apron. Sika rakes the eyes, and Afa comes in for a double punch to the midsection. Afa with a headbutt, and here comes Samu, for a double headbutt. Andre gets the tag, and he hammers away on Samu, as well as the other two Samoans. Andre with a headbutt on Samu, but Samu fights back with his own headbutts. Studd tries attacking from behind, but gets knocked off the apron. Samu tries something from the middle rope, but Andre boots him and drops ass for the three count at 2:48, winning their third and decisive fall to end the match. * Some decent exchanges, but just nothing here to really talk about, other than a bunch of rushed falls. And people complained about some of the Survivor Series matches from the early 2000's...

Final Thoughts: After the great start to the tape, everything slips down into either a mediocre or pretty bad position. This tape is definitely worth checking out for Muraco vs. Steamboat, Fuji General, and if you like seeing how maturity of who ran the WWF was, then also the stuff with Wendi Richter. Everything else is whatever. A couple of matches pulled from the syndicated shows, a bad Jesse Ventura match (shock), and a forgetable tag match to end the tape. Mild Recommendation, especially for Muraco fans, as he comes off as the MVP of the video release.

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