WWF World Tour 1996
by Scrooge McSuck
- Coliseum Video, by 1996 standards, was practically on it's death bed. Outside of PPV releases, there just wasn't a whole lot coming out, and what did reach the public was mostly rehashes from Monday Night Raw, with minimal "exclusives" being featured. This tape marks one of the last Coliseum Videos to feature not only the WWF's overseas tour, but also significant footage never before seen on American television. Is it good? We have THREE Ahmed Johnson matches to sit through, so figure it out yourselves. (Note: The tape intro says "Goodtime Home Videos" before going to the Coliseum screen.... what?!?)
Ahmed Johnson & Yokozuna vs. The New Rockers:
This, along with every other match featured, was recorded in Kuwait City, Kuwait, throughout the month of May, 1996. The New Rockers are, of course, Marty Jannetty and Leif Cassidy. We're Joined in Progress, which never really made any sense to me, at least when it came to first-run matches. If you're doing a recap for something significant, fine, but what's the point of showing a first-run match in such a manner? Ahmed and Yoko work over Cassidy. The Rockers try to double team Yokozuna, but clotheslines send both men out of the ring. Yokozuna brings them back in with a slingshot, and they roll out of the ring, again. Jannetty comes in and rakes the eyes. Whip to the corner is countered, and Yokozuna with another clothesline. Johnson tags in, and comes off the top with a crappy forearm. Jannetty tries something off the top rope, but Ahmed catches him and hits a sloppy kick to the head. Jim Ross sounds so bored, he mentions the difference in legality of using the flat of the foot and toe of the boot. The Rockers take turns working over Ahmed, but I doubt this will last long. Ahmed no-sells their double team efforts and gets the tag to Yokozuna, who hammers away on Cassidy. Ahmed tags in, and lays out Cassidy with a spinebuster. Ahmed with the Pearl River Plunge, then Yokozuna REALLY finishes things off with the Banzai Drop for the three count at 5:27. Pretty crappy match. The Rockers are terrible heels, Ahmed was green and incredibly sloppy, and all Yokozuna could do was punch and headbutt people.
Bret "Hitman" Hart vs. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin:
Here's a match of interest, and not because of who is wrestling who, it's because of the timeline. Bret Hart last wrestled at WrestleMania XII, then was removed from television for quite a while, finally making his return in September and October, after rumors that WCW was attempting to bring him in. This being early May, I'm just surprised he was used, period. I know Bret had a strong fanbase overseas, but I'm sure the WWF could've toured Kuwait without him. We're joined in progress, here, too. Austin wants a test-of-strength, but he's hiding in the corner. They finally lockup, and Austin stomps away at the midsection to take control of the situation. Bret escapes with an overhead takedown, then goes to work on the left arm. Irish whip, and Austin dumps Bret through the ropes. Austin follows, coming off the apron with an axehandle across the back. Back inside, and Austin stomps away at the chest of the Hitman for a two count. Austin forces Bret into the Andre The Giant Special™, then unloads on him with rights. Apparently, this is a Second Round Match in the Kuwait Cup Tournament... does anyone care? Austin remains in control, choking Bret from beneath the bottom rope. Austin with an elbow across the chest for a two count, then slaps on a chinlock. Yes, he DOES use the ropes for leverage. Jim Ross complains about the weather while this hold takes up plenty of time. Bret escapes with elbows to the midsection, then comes off the ropes with a cross body for a two count. Austin is up first, and a clothesline gets him a two count, as well. Austin with some choking, then a splash across the back, Boss Man style. Irish whip is reversed, and Bret slaps on a sleeper, but Austin quickly escapes with a jaw buster. Austin introduces Bret to the turnbuckle, but a whip to the corner is reversed, and Bret lays him out with a clothesline. Bret with an inverted atomic drop, followed by a bulldog from out of the corner for a two count. Bret with the Russian leg sweep for another two count. Bret with a small package for yet another two count. Bret hads up the ropes, but eats boot on the way down. Austin goes for the Million Dollar Dream, but Bret counters with a cradle for a two count. Bret sweeps the legs and slaps on the Sharpshooter, and it's over at a clipped 10:26. Even a paint-by-numbers match between the two can be a good one. Nothing compared to stuff like their matches at Survivor Series '96 and WrestleMania XIII, but it's good enough.
Duke "The Dumpster" Droese vs. The British Bulldog:
This one is officially recognized as part of the Tournament, during one of Gorilla Monsoon's brief messages in-between matches. There should be no surprise with the outcome here. We're Joined in Progress, again, with the Bulldog sending Droese hard to the corner. Dok Hendrix with a Tim McCarver-ism regarding both men using the powerslam as a finisher. Bulldog sends Droese out of the ring, then plays to the crowd for a while. In between nothing happening, we have to listen to hype for a HBK/Owen match that isn't on the tape. Droese comes back in with a sunset flip for a two count. Bulldog levels him with a clothesline, then slaps on a chinlock. Droese escapes with elbows, but a knee to the midsection puts him back down. Bulldog with a leg drop for a two count, then back to the chinlock. Droese escapes again, but an elbow is his demise, this time. Bulldog stomps away, and slaps on a mounted sleeper hold. Droese gets back to his feet, and rams the Bulldog into the top turnbuckle. Droese with a series of rights, followed by a back drop. Droese with a clothesine, followed by a powerslam. Droese calls for the end, but if I know my Droese matches, he won't win. Droese with a back breaker, then heads to the top rope, and misses a headbutt. Bulldog scoops him up, and plants the garbage man with the running powerslam for the three count at 6:56.
Ahmed Johnson vs. Owen Hart:
More Tournament action, Semi-Finals action apparently, and yes, we are Joined in Progress! Owen plays to the crowd a lot, and I guess they're clearly behind Ahmed. Lockup, and Owen with a drop toe hold, followed by pre-mature celebrating. Owen with a hammerlock, and Ahmed counters with a sloppy drop toe hold of his own. Ross and Monsoon even bring up how ugly that looked. Lockup, and Ahmed shoves Owen down, hard. Owen slaps on a side headlock, but is quickly thrown off, and out of the ring. Ahmed wants a test-of-strength, and easily wins that competition. Owen offers an insincere handshake, and a sucker blow is blocked. Owen with a waist-lock, but Ahmed breaks it. Owen tries a shoulder block, but Ahmed won't budge. Why is Owen wrestling like a total scrub? Owen lures Ahmed into a cat-and-mouse chase, then stomps away re-entering the ring. Owen with some choking and eye raking. Owen controls, doing very little of note. Irish whip, and Owen connects with a spinning heel kick, followed by a leg drop for a two count. Ahmed decides to stop selling (or attempting to sell, I guess), and makes his comeback. Irish whip, Owen puts the head down, and the Pearl River Plunge finishes things off just like that at 7:35. Blech... one of the worst matches I've ever seen to feature Owen Hart.
Kuwait Cup Tournament Finals:
Ahmed Johnson vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley:
Oh my God, this one is going to suck. I'm sorry for such a negative response to open the match commentary, but honestly, who would look forward to this junk? Hey, guess what... we're Joined in Progress. Ahmed charges, and Hunter pulls the top rope down on him. Helmsley with a baseball slide into the face of Ahmed, followed by a whip into the steps. Helmsley gives us a repeat performance of that hit, in between lots of stalling. Hunter tosses Ahmed back in the ring, then comes off the top with a forearm for a two count. Hunter lays into Ahmed in the corner, and this seems to go on forever. The crowd tries to rally Ahmed, but Hunter nails him with the running high knee for a two count. Helmsley slaps on a chinlock, and that will eat a few minutes up. Lot of drama here... who thought an hour long tape featuring THREE Ahmed Johnson matches was a good idea, anyway? Ahmed fights out, but a knee to the midsection puts him back down. Maybe it's me, but Hunter looks pretty big in there for 1996 standards... I don't know why I brought that up, it's not like I was paying much attention to begin with. Helmsley pounds Johnson down in the corner, again. Helmsley slaps Ahmed around, then takes it to the corner for more clubberin'. Ahmed reverses a whip, and gives Hunter a sweet looking spinebuster, but both men are playing dead. Ahmed goes for the Plunge, but Helmsley counters with a back drop. Helmsley comes off the ropes with a knee drop, and covers for a two count. Ahmed starts no-selling, trading blows in an ever-so-deliberately slow exchange. Whip to the corner, and Helmsley does the flip in the corner. Johnson with a press slam, followed by a scissors kick. He actually didn't blow that spot, for once. Whip to the corner, and Ahmed eats boot on a charge attempt. Ahmed misses another charge, and Helmsley rolls him up for a two count. (Looks at clock) Seriously... it's not over, yet?! Helmsley with a swinging neck breaker for another two count. Irish whip, and Ahmed hits the Plunge out of nowhere for the three count at an ungodly long 15:03, CLIPPED. About as a good of a match as you expect where the 1996 version of Triple H has to carry such a poor worker like Ahmed Johnson to a match longer than four minutes... not very.
Final Thoughts: Well, this sure did suck. Bret vs. Austin was good, but a major letdown compared to what they were capable of doing in later matches. Everything else was garbage, including THREE matches featuring Ahmed Johnson, one of the worst workers on the WWF roster at the time. The tape was only 60-minutes long, but it felt like the longest out of all of the World Tour tapes I've sat through. Coliseum Video, for shame... not only did you clip ever match, but they (mostly) all sucked, too.
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