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Coliseum Video Presents: The Best of the WWF Vol. VII

by Scrooge McSuck

British Bulldogs

Though I've attempted (in the past) to recap the sequential releases from Coliseum Video, I rarely bothered with the numbers that they were produced under. This one is #024, with only three tapes between this and the previous "Best of the WWF" release. Since I'm a sucker for going into detail, those three tapes were "WrestleMania 2", "Villains of the Squared Circle", and "Bruno Sammartino: Wrestling's Living Legend."

"Mean" Gene Okerlund is our host from the WWF Control Center. Okerlund reminds us of what we've seen in earlier releases of the "Best of" Series, which means nothing here. As for this edition, we've got a never-before-seen match between Brutus Beefcake & Greg Valentine and Nikolai Volkoff & The Iron Sheik. From the Archives, Tony Garea and Haystacks Calhoun defend the WWWF Tag Team Championship against Mr. Fuji and Prof. Toru Tanaka. Lastly, Hulk Hogan defends the WWF Heavyweight Title against Randy Savage.

Pedro Morales vs. Terry Funk (w/ Jimmy Hart):

Joined in Progress from the January 13th, 1986 card held at the Boston Garden with Monsoon and Ventura calling the action. Terry was in the middle of a high-profile program with the Junkyard Dog while Morales was a mid-card filler, but as a former Triple Crown Champion, he'll always have that credibility. Lockup to the ropes and Funk with a slap across the face. Lockup and Morales gives a receipt, plus interest. Funk takes a short breather before dumping Morales over the top rope, with Morales' leg landing across the announcer's table. Funk shows off some fancy footwork, peppering Morales with rights and lefts. Monsoon isn't impressed by the referee allowing this wrestling match to feature a bunch of closed fists. Funk sends Morales through the ropes and takes a swipe at Monsoon! Monsoon promises a payback shot if he gets that close again. Funk keeps Morales in the ropes, stomping on the back of his head. Funk grabs a piece of trash thrown in the ring and rakes across Morales' eyes. Hart with a distraction, allowing a lengthy choke with the wrist tape. Morales mounts a comeback, using Funk's wrist tape against him. Funk stumbles to the floor, knocking over the ring steps. He tries hiding UNDER THE WOODEN STEPS, but Morales shows no mercy. Morales climbs the ropes, teasing a dive, but Hart pulls Funk to safety. Back inside, Morales continues to punish Funk with left hands. Morales stalks Hart at ringside, buying Funk time to recover. Funk tosses a chair in the ring that the referee quickly disposes of. Funk keeps over-selling as if he's working the match with an inanimate object. Morales treats us to a half moon trying to pull Funk into the ring. Hart passes along the megaphone and Funk knocks Morales out with it for three at 10:38 (shown). Morales made sure to kick out at 2.9 anyway, even against an opponent with Funk's credibility. Funk practically wrestled himself. *¼

WWF World Heavyweight Championship Match:
Hulk Hogan (c) vs. "Macho Man" Randy Savage (w/ Elizabeth):

From the January 27th, 1986 card from Madison Square Garden, the regional rematch to the match featured on "Best of the WWF Vol. VI." Savage ambushes Hogan as he enters the ring. "Real American" is Hogan's choice of music now, so no need to join things in progress. Savage comes off the top rope with a double axe-handle, still wearing his sunglasses and robe. He rips the belt from Hogan's waist and smashes him across the back. Savage climbs the ropes again, still assaulting Hogan with the belt. Hogan starts doing the Hulk Up routine and unloads on Savage with right hands. He puts on Macho's shades and connects with an atomic drop. Hogan continues playing to the crowd as he tosses Savage through the ropes. Hogan follows, using Savage's head as a battering ram against the post and busting him open in the process. Back inside the ring, Hogan peppers Savage with left jabs. Elizabeth hops on the apron, buying Savage time to recover. He sends Hogan to the outside and puts the boots to him. Hogan gets sent to the post and Savage follows with a double axe-handle from the top rope. Back inside, Savage with a second double axe-handle. He connects with the flying elbow drop but Hogan kicks out with authority. Hogan shrugs off Savage's strikes, sends him to the corner and charges in with a clothesline. Whip to the ropes and Hogan with an elbow to the face. Hogan with the big boot, sending Savage to the apron. Hogan pulls him back in by the tights, only to toss Savage out of the ring on his own terms. Hogan follows for another battering ram, but Elizabeth steps in his path. Savage slides off Hogan's shoulder, sends him to the post, and rolls into the ring for another count-out victory at 8:34. Post-match, Hogan isn't done with Savage, carrying him from corner to the corner and hooking a bearhug. Tiger Chung Lee, Mike Sharpe, George Wells, Scott McGhee, and Dan Spivey break it up, and of course Savage takes a cheap shot at Hogan before running for his life. Another good match between these two, and another cheap finish to protect the challenger. They would have the blow-off match the next month, and that one is featured on the Savage and Elizabeth Coliseum Video (spoilers: there's interference). ***

Arnold Skaaland vs. Capt. Lou Albano:

From the December 19th, 1977 card from Madison Square Garden. We're digging into the archives for a match between two managers, and hopefully this is reasonably short. Skaaland decks Albano before the bell, sending him to the floor, teasing to walk out on the match as soon as it begins. Albano digs into his tights and whacks Skaaland with whatever object he pulled out. I'm surprised Albano is in as decent physical condition as he was in 1977, based on how he looked for most of the early-mid 80's. Albano keeps whacking Skaaland in the face, playing keep-away from the referee. It's never a good thing I'm checking the time when a match isn't 2-minutes long yet. Skaaland fights to disarm Albano. He uses the foreign object on Albano, giving him a chance to juice. He's not even TRYING to hide the fact he's blading. Albano takes some more punishment and takes a walk at 4:35. What a thrilling match. ZERO STARS

WWWF Tag Team Championship; 2 out of 3 Falls Match:
Tony Garea & Haystacks Calhoun vs. Mr. Fuji & Prof. Toru Tanaka:

From the July 23rd, 1973 card held at Madison Square Garden. I get it, Fuji and Garea still worked for the company in 1986, but what tempts someone to put this on a tape that was ridiculously overpriced to own? Fall #1: We're joined in progress, but it looks like only introductions were cut. Garea and Tanaka start. Some stunt granny shows up at ringside to brush away the ceremonial salt Tanaka throws. And that is why this match is featured on the tape, I GUARANTEE IT. Oh God, there's another old hag to do the same on the opposite side of the ring. Monsoon (calling the match in the "present day") calls Tanaka "Chopstick Charlie." JESUS CHRIST. We cut ahead in the action with Garea in control on the canvas with a side headlock. Tanaka counters with a head-scissors, but Garea escapes and keeps going to the canvas with a hold. Crisscross and Tanaka with a hip toss, but he misses an elbow drop, allowing Garea to regain position with an arm bar. Fuji in with a cheap shot thanks to Calhoun distracting the referee. Garea gets choked out in the corner with the tag rope. Whip and Fuji with a back body-drop. Garea counters a second attempt and rings the neck of Fuji. We cut ahead again with Garea ducking a chop from Fuji. Whip and Garea with a back body-drop of his own. Calhoun with an assist from the apron. Tanaka cuts Garea off, hooking a chin-lock. Garea counters and tags in Calhoun. He tucks Tanaka's head between his legs and does a goofy dance. Fuji tries to help but accidentally chops his own partner. "Chopstick Charlie doesn't have a clue where he's at." Calhoun sits on Tanaka's chest, then Garea stands on his back to make it more of a spectacle. Tanaka goes to the eyes of Calhoun, who has no trouble tagging out, rendering that spot pointless. Garea sends Tanaka to the corner and bounces off the ropes with a shoulder block for two. Tanaka catches Garea off the ropes with a thrust kick and covers for three at 5:57 (shown).

Fall #2: Garea opens the fall by landing a boot to the body and unloading with right hands. He grabs a front face-lock and poor 1986 Gorilla Monsoon is bored out of his mind calling this. Fuji and Tanaka take over, keeping Garea on their side of the ring. Garea gets dumped over the top and Calhoun gets double-teamed until the bell rings at 2:31 (shown), with Fuji and Tanaka disqualified. Fall #3: I'm still in awe this match made the tape. Tanaka offers a handshake that turns into a cheap shot. SHOCKER. Garea cuts Tanaka off with a flurry of right hands. Whip to the ropes, Garea with a back body-drop and Calhoun with a splash for three at 1:17 to retain the belts. Post-match, Calhoun with a second splash because babyfaces do that stuff. Not that I'm a fan of butchering footage, but you could've done creative editing to make it appear to be a one-fall match. This was a waste of 10-minutes because of the odd editing and the bored-to-be-there commentary. *

WWF Intercontinental Championship Match:
Ken Patera (c) (w/ The Grand Wizard) vs. Tony Atlas:

From the August 9th, 1980 card held at Shea Stadium. THREE MATCHES IN A ROW FROM THE ARCHIVES. Patera was already serving prison time at this point, but Vince was sending checks to his family, so we need to keep his memory alive until his release, I suppose. Vince McMahon of all people is doing the ring introductions. Lockup into the ropes, Atlas blocks a right hand and unloads with a flurry of strikes. He connects with a one-foot dropkick and has Patera begging him off in the corner. Atlas catches the boot and sends Patera to the canvas with a press slam. Patera takes control, hitting Atlas with a clothesline and elbow drop for two. Atlas gets sent into the turnbuckle, which has no effect. Patera hurts his hand punching Atlas' head. Atlas with a pair of headbutts and a splash for two. More headbutts from Patera. SOMEONE STOP HIM, PATERA HAS A FAMILY TO FEED. Patera cuts Atlas off by choking him across the top rope. Wow, he held it for a solid 15-20 seconds before the referee started counting. Patera comes off the top with a stomp across the chest. He scoops Atlas up and tosses him across the ring. Patera tries for the swinging Full Nelson, but Atlas fights to the ropes, forcing the break. We get more of sleepy Monsoon commentary, noting Patera is the man who retired him. Patera with a "blatant" chokehold. Atlas escapes and comes off the second rope with a headbutt. Atlas with right hands, sending Patera face-first to the canvas. He takes Patera over with a suplex for a two-count. Whip and Atlas hops on Patera's back with a sleeper. Patera clotheslines Atlas across the top rope to break the hold. Whip and Atlas with a cross body press for two. The action spills to the infield of Shea Stadium. They fight on the apron until Patera clotheslines Atlas into the ring, and PATERA gets counted-out at 8:14. Surprisingly fun. Unfortunately, I'm mostly familiar with their later years. **½

Highlights of the 1986 Slammy Awards. Gene Okerlund interviews random fans who don't make for entertaining television. After FIVE MINUTES OF THAT, we cut to Ventura and Okerlund backstage, waiting for the show to begin. We then see Gorilla Monsoon's wardrobe malfunction that was totally not planned, except they had a camera ready to catch them facing away from the audience to make the adjustment. "Most Ignominious" Award is presented to Nikolai Volkoff, who seems unaware that isn't a complimentary award. Volkoff is of course wearing his one-and-only suit. "Best Personality in Land of 1,000 Dances" goes to RODDY PIPER. The award falls apart in his hand, causing Piper to shoot on MTV (Music to vomit by). At least the 5-minutes covering the show itself was a window into what was happening in the WWF at the time.

The British Bulldogs vs. The Hart Foundation (w/ Jimmy Hart):

Taped on September 23rd, 1985 from Madison Square Garden. At the time, these two teams were just card-fillers, but then the Bulldogs ended up getting a strong push with the departure of Barry Windham, leading to their Championship victory at WrestleMania 2. We're Joined in Progress (BOO!) with Dynamite Kid and Bret(t) Hart in the ring. OK, I swear, I won't keep doing that joke about Bret's name... for this recap. Dynamite grabs a side headlock and comes off the ropes with a shoulder block. Crisscross, Dynamite counters a dropkick and sends Bret into the turnbuckle with a slingshot. We cut ahead to Dynamite going to work on the arm. Bret counters but Dynamite uses his momentum to send Hart through the ropes. Neidhart and Davey Boy have a go now. Lockup and the Anvil with a knee to the midsection, followed by a slam. Whip to the ropes, Davey ducks a clothesline and gives Neidhart a slam of his own. Neidhart takes a cheap shot to win a knuckle-lock but is quickly sent to the floor with a dropkick. Bret pounds away on Davey in the corner. Whip across the ring, Davey sneaks between the legs and takes Bret over with a victory roll for two. Crisscross and Bret with a knee to the midsection. Neidhart with clubbing blows and Bret connects with a dropkick. Neidhart continues pounding away and applies a bearhug. Davey fights free and scrambles to his corner to tag Dynamite. He runs wild, hitting Bret with his signature hook clothesline and slamming him to the canvas with a double fistful of hair. Neidhart reverses a whip, allowing Bret to drive a knee into the back. Bret sneaks in to hit an elbow from the second rope while Neidhart distracts the referee. Dynamite gets dumped out and Bret slams him on the concrete floor.

Back inside, Neidhart with a snap mare into a chin-lock. Bret sends Dynamite chest-first into the turnbuckle and gives him a receipt with the hair-pulling slam. Bret with a back breaker for two. Dynamite fights to his corner but Bret takes a shot at Davey to prevent the tag. Dynamite tries it again and this time the referee misses the tag, forcing Davey Boy out of the ring. Meanwhile, the Foundation do an illegal switch and tie Dynamite up in the ropes. Whip and Dynamite gets dropped on his head trying to flip through a back breaker. Bret continues to unload on Dynamite with uppercuts. Dynamite counters, hooking the arms with a back-slide for a near-fall. Bret ties him up again and straddles the ropes on a missed dive. Davey with the hot tag, hitting Neidhart with a dropkick and ramming the Foundation into each other. Bret gets the chest-first whip into the turnbuckle for two. Whip and Davey Boy with the press slam but Neidhart saves. Bret with a back breaker, holding Davey across the knee as Neidhart comes off the middle rope with a double axe-handle. Neidhart hoists Davey up and Bret leaps off the top with a clothesline. The referee is too distracted ushering out Neidhart, allowing Dynamite to come off the top with a diving headbutt and Davey Boy to get the three-count at 15:54 (shown). I'd hate to be anyone that had to follow this match. The WWF was NOT a work-rate company, and these teams were stealing the show almost every time out. ****

The Rougeau Brothers vs. The Moondogs:

Taped on February 28th, 1986 from the Entertainment Centre in Sydney, Australia. The Rougeau's, Jacques and Raymond, made their debut on this tour, but weren't brought to TV until the following month. Looks like Rex lost his gear, working the match in standard black trunks. We're Joined in Progress (yay?) with Raymond and Rex in the ring. They trade blows, with Raymond sending Rex backwards over the top rope. Rex continues to do goofy shenanigans with the ropes. Woah, is that a young Tim White as the referee? Raymond blocks a boot and connects with an atomic drop for two. Jacques with the blind tag, hitting Rex on the back of the head with a dropkick and coming off the ropes with a splash for two. Spot gets distracted and rolled up for two. Spot grabs a side headlock and comes off the ropes with a shoulder block. Crisscross and Jacques with a hip toss. Spot stumbles into the wrong corner and pays for it. We cut ahead in the action with Spot having Raymond locked in a bearhug. Raymond fights free but is cut off with an inverted atomic drop. Rex sends Raymond to the corner but misses an elbow. Jacques gets the hot tag, running wild with dropkicks. DOUBLE NOGGIN KNOCKER. The Moondogs double-team, but Jacques ducks a double clothesline and hits Rex with a cross body press for three at 5:23 (shown of almost 18-minutes!). Too hard to rate such a small portion of the match, but it was perfectly fine action.

Greg Valentine & Brutus Beefcake (w/ Johnny Valiant) vs. Nikolai Volkoff & The Iron Sheik (w/ Fred Blassie):

Taped on December 17th, 1985 from Poughkeepsie, NY, a dark match for that taping cycle of Championship Wrestling. We're Joined in Progress, likely to avoid showing Beefcake and Valentine with the Tag Team Titles. Valentine and Sheik start. Lockup into the corner, Valentine avoids a cheap-shot and takes the Sheik over with a hip toss. Valentine with a slam and the Sheik plays ping-pong ball between Valiant's Dream Team. Monsoon notes this is a TITLE MATCH, so there goes my theory. Sheik sends Beefcake to the ropes and lands a boot to the midsection. Beefcake blocks it on the second attempt, spins Sheik around and connects with an atomic drop. Beefcake seems lost and gets caught in the wrong side of town. Volkoff grabs a side headlock, yanking the hair to maintain control. Whip to the corner and Volkoff meets the knee. Beefcake grabs a wristlock and Valentine comes off the top with a double axe-handle. Whip and Valentine with a spinning elbow. Volkoff counters a back body-drop with a punt to the chest. Sheik sends Valentine to the ropes and connects with a double chop to the throat for two. Valentine counters an abdominal stretch but misses an elbow drop. Whip and Sheik throws a DROPKICK. What the hell am I watching?! Valentine catches Volkoff with his head down and tags in Beefcake. He takes Volkoff over with a snap mare but misses a flying fist drop. Beefcake ducks a clothesline but gets caught in a bearhug. Sheik with a gut-wrench suplex. He hooks the Camel Clutch, but Valentine saves. Valentine throws elbows and takes Sheik over with a suplex. He goes for the Figure-Four, but Volkoff boots him in the face. Heck breaks loose and the bell rings at 7:20 for a Double Disqualification. That should've been expected, honestly. Surprisingly fun. **¼

Coming soon from Coliseum Video... The Best of the WWF Vol. VIII (with highlights of the Killer Bees vs. Hart Foundation to sell the tape), Randy "Macho Man" Savage, and The Best of the TNT Show.

Final Thoughts: A little too much "archive" footage for my taste, but we got another solid match between Hogan and Savage, and an outstanding match between the Bulldogs and Hart Foundation, so the pros already outweigh the cons. Cut out a few matches (notably the Skaaland/Albano and Archive Tag Title Match), and this is a fun tape, and has a few hidden gems worth checking out.

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