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Coliseum Video: Best of the WWF Vol. 1: Special Edition

by Scrooge McSuck

- If there was ever a Coliseum Video series who's name should be held under scrutiny, this series has to be it. Not to play the game of spoiler, but for the most part, the Best of... series never really featured the best of anything, and never had a rhyme or reason to the selections. What was the best of supposed to be? The best matches? Best moments since the last release? The showcase of new talent? None of these points to an answer of yes. Anyway, with that downer of an introduction, let's head into the first tape in the Best of the WWF series....

- Vince McMahon is our host once again, and he runs down what will be featured on this installment of the Best of the WWF. We'll just see how accurate that title is this time...

- Handicap Match:
Hulk Hogan & Andre The Giant vs. Dick Murdoch, Adrian Adonis, Big John Studd:

Holy hell, now that's a match to open a tape with, if I may say so. From the July 15th, 1984 card held at the Meadowlands Arena. I'm pretty sure this was originally a 2 out of 3 Falls Match, but we're only shown one fall. Hogan is the WWF Champion and the team of Adonis and Murdoch are the Tag Champs, but only Adonis is packing the gold. Hulk and Adonis start for their teams. Lockup, and Adonis with a headlock, then turns it into a hammerlock. Hogan counters into his own, but takes an elbow. Adonis hits the ropes, then runs into a chop from Andre and gets to play monkey-in-the-middle. Lockup, and Adonis with a wristlock. Murdoch tags in and hits a pair of elbows. Studd in, and we clip to Andre tagging into the match. Andre wants a test-of-strength, then we clip again, to Hogan tussling with Adonis, driving a pair of knees into the midsection. Andre tags in and pummels Adonis. Whip to the corner, with dramatic over-sell. Studd tags in and gets squashed in the corner. The Tag Champs all run in, and get trapped as well, behind the massive structure of Andre, and a little help from Hulk for good measure. Andre takes a boot to the face from Studd, and gets dropped like a teetering tree. The heels make quick tags, all taking turns pounding on the Giant. Murdoch from the top rope with a face-buster on Andre, followed by some stompin'. CLIP! Adonis has a facelock on Andre, then Murdoch tags in and chokes Andre with his wrist tape. Andre gets back to his feet and chokes Murdoch in retaliation. Hogan tags in and hammers away. Hogan whips Adonis and Murdoch into each other, trapping Adonis in the ropes in the process. Murdoch is sent to the corner, but he catches Hogan coming with an elbow. CLIP to Adonis and Murdoch double teaming. Adonis with a scoop slam on Hogan, followed by a series of knee drops. Adonis to the top rope, but Hogan is up, and crotches Adonis across the top rope. Studd tags back in and traps Hogan in a front facelock. Everyone is drenched in sweat, so we must be really late into the third fall. Murdoch tags in, and we quickly get a collision. Andre gets the hot XXL-Tag, and takes Murdoch down with a back drop. Adonis comes in, and it's duble noggin-knocker time. Hogan works over Studd in the corner, then whips him into a roundhouse right. Andre with a headbutt, sending Studd out of the ring. Andre chases him back to the locker room, but the match is still going on in the ring. Hogan gets double teamed, but Andre returns to the ring. Hoga is HULKING UP on Murdoch, and I think I hear a fat lady singing. Irish whip, and Hogan with a clothesline. Andre tags in and boots Murdoch coming off the ropes. Andre with an ass drop, and the three count is made at a heavily butchered 9:30. The match, in it's entirety, would probably get a **1/2-*** rating from me, depending on the day of the week, but I can't in good taste rate this match with stars, but it was a fun little waste of ten minutes.

- WWF Women's Championship Match:
The Fabulous Moolah (w/ Capt. Lou Albano) vs. Wendi Richter (w/ Cyndi Lauper):

[Special Edition Version]
It's the famous Brawl To End It All, televised live from Madison Square Garden on MTV. The Coliseum Video version butchers this to mostly clips, but for the sake of making a big deal out of something, here's the complete and unedited version (hence the Special Edition tag in the title). I've never been a fan of recapping womens wrestling, but hey, I guess I can suffer through this one. To explain the set-up to this match as quick as possible, Lou Albano made claims of making Cyndi Lauper a star, based on his 5-second appearance in her Girls Just Want To Have Fun video, words were exchanged, and each one recruited someone to fight their battles for them. Albano picked 89 year old women's champ Moolah, Lauper picked Richter, thus making her the #1(cool.gif babyface in the whole promotion as a result.

Moolah quickly takes Richter down with an arm drag, and Richter quickly returns the favor. Moolah boots Richter and snaps her over several times with a handful of hair, then dumps her onto the broadcast table, giving Okerlund a chance to cop a cheap feel. Moolah drags Richter back in and chokes away. Richter quickly takes Moolah down and covers, and the camera gets a considerably close shot up Richter's crotch in the process. Richter goes to work on the arm, but nothing is really catching my attention. Richter misses a splash, but Moolah misses one as well. Richter tries to cover, but Moolah's in the ropes. Moolah takes control again and chokes Richter across the top rope. Richter sends Moolah to the corner, but posts herself on a charge attempt. Moolah chokes some more, and I've already am phoning it in for this match. Richter manages to trap Moolah in the ropes and stomps a mudhole in her ass. Outside the ring, Albano and Lauper are getting in each others face. Richter finally gets Moolah free and slaps on the SHITTIEST full nelson ever, then for whatever reason, Lauper climbs up onto the apron, but decides not to do anything. We get the second take, and Lauper wallops Moolah with her towel, in plain view of the referee! Where's the disqualification?! Irish whip, and Richter connects with a dropkick, then splashes Moolah for a two count. Richter with a snap suplex for another two count. Richter with a scoop and back breaker, but not enough to get any kind of count. Richter slaps on a chinlock, driving the knee into the neck for added preasure. That looked pretty good for a rest-hold. Moolah escapes and grabs a handful of hair. Whip to the ropes and a monkey flip gets a two count. Irish whip, and Moolah with a back drop for a two count. Moolah lets Richter up and slaps on a full nelson. Albano gets on the apron, but misses whatever he tried to do. Moolah rolls up Richter, but Richter gets her elbow up, pinning Moolah at 11:12, and winning the Women's Championship in the process. What an ugly finish to a pretty crappy match. 1/2* For historical purposes, it was a good idea to include on the tape, but from a wrestling and "workrate" stand point, this one was a complete dog.Moolah dropkicks to the referee and, along with Albano, puts the boots to him, all while Lauper and Richter celebrate the victory in the middle of the ring.

- We go way back in time (for this period, at least) to 1976. Gorilla Monsoon is taking on Baron Mikel Scicluna, and Muhammad Ali is at ringside for whatever reason. The match barely lasts 30-seconds before Ali comes into the ring for a confrontation with Monsoon, and anyone who's ever seen a clip of Monsoon has seen this one, where he grabs Ali by the arm, hoists him over his shoulders, and does an airplane spin, then puts him back down. I don't know why this was done, but hey, it created a lasting image for the WWF(E) to use for the rest of time.

"Superfly" Jimmy Snuka vs. Bobby Bass:

I don't think this quite counts as Best of..., but it might be leading into something good. Pulled from Hamilton, Ontario, from October of '84 if my research is correct. Bass attacks from behind and pounds away. Whip to the corner, and Snuka quickly comes back, taking him over with a back drop. Snuka with a slam, followed by a pair of hip tosses, sending Bass out of the ring, in the process. CLIP to Bass wanting a handshake, but Snuka doesn't oblige. Irish whip, and Bass with a shoulder block. Snuka comes off the ropes with a diving headbutt. Snuka with a back breaker, then heads to the top rope for his signature Superfly Splash (someone calls it the Statue of Liberty?), and that's good enough for a three count at 1:33. Short and sweet squash match for the Superfly.

- Piper's Pit with Superfly Jimmy Snuka, and holy cow, it's another segment that has withstood the test of time and left a lasting image in the annals of WWF History. For those who don't know about this segment, here's the brief rundown... Piper has Snuka on the set for an interview, and becomes increasingly insulting, to the point he offers Snuka bananas and coconuts, then apologies for not having a tree for him to climb, like his people like to do. Snuka, ever so subtle, asks if Piper is making fun of him. Piper says no, then wallops him with a coconut, and the momentum of this has Snuka going down, taking the entire stage set up with him. Piper then adds insult to injury, whipping Snuka like a dog and mashes bananas all over his face, talking trash the entire time. By the time Snuka recovered, Piper had already ran like a coward, and thus, we're set for...

"Superfly" Jimmy Snuka vs. "Rowdy" Roddy Piper:

[Special Edition Version]
Pulled from the August 25th, 1984 card held at Madison Square Garden, and another pretty big deal match that Coliseum Video doesn't do justice, cutting off the post-match shenanigans. Piper gets pelted with trash during the introductions, and stalls forever outside of the ring, all while getting the dirtiest stink-eye in the history of man from Snuka. Piper ditches the ring once Snuka begins to make his move. Snuka stalks Piper around the ring, and they finally clash, with Snuka pounding on Piper with shots to the forehead. Snuka with blows to the chest and throat of Piper, and now Piper is begging for mercy. Snuka has none at this point, and sends Piper bouncing courtesy of a jumping headbutt. They exchange blows again, but Piper foolishly tries a headbutt. That won't work, so he pokes Snuka in the eyes and that does. Piper with a series of short rights to the face. Snapmare and mounted punching by Piper. Snuka comes back with chops to the throat, and a big chop sends Piper flying over the top rope, to the floor. Snuka follows him out to ram Piper into the ring apron, and back into the ring. Irish whip is blocked thanks to Piper getting his throat hung-up across the top rope. More blows exchanged. An Irish whip is reversed, and Snuka applies a sleeper hold. Piper does a modified hoola-dance to prove he's selling, but the action spills outside. Snuka still has the hold applied, until Piper rams him into the apron. Snuka sends Piper into the ring post in retaliation, and chases him around the ring. Piper goes for a chair, but Snuka grabs it and bashes Piper good instead... but NO DQ. Piper is busted open good, and the crowd is begging for Snuka to kick his ass more. Snuka goes for the wound and hammers away with measured shots to the open cut. Snuka nails a jumping headbutt across the face. Snuka heads up top now, but a cross body is blocked with Piper dropping him across the top rope, causing Snuka to fall outside and get counted-out at 7:06, giving Piper the lame win.

Now the fun begins, as Piper goes outside to stomp on the back of the head of Snuka, and ramming a steel chair into his neck! Piper with the chair again, and takes another well measured shot across the back of Snukas neck. Piper finally walks away, wearing a crimson mask, as medics come to ringside with a stretcher to take care of Snuka. Monsoon speculates Piper broke his neck! **1/2 This wasn't a pretty "wrestling" match, but this had plenty of substance from the point of view that Snuka just wanted to beat the crap out of Piper, and didn't care about winning the match. I don't know the reason behind taking Snuka off television, but this was a good way to explain his absence. Easily one of the best feuds the WWF produced, Pre-Wrestlemania.

WWF Jr. Heavyweight Championship Match (Vacant Title):
The Cobra vs. The Black Tiger:

From the December 28th, 1984 card, also pulled from Madison Square Garden. The "Jr. Heavyweight Title" never really surfaced on WWF programming, but remained alive and active in Japan for years, until the WWF decided to bring the title back... in 1997. Talk about a long hiatus for a championship. Lockup to start, and Cobra quickly goes to work on the arm, but Tiger flips through to escape a hammerlock. Tiger with a snapmare, followed by a knee drop. Snapmare and elbow drop, then the Tiger clamps on a chinlock. Cobra escapes and goes back to the arm, taking down Black Tiger with an arm drag. CLIP! Black Tiger has a chinlock applied. Irish whip, and Tiger charges and connects with a clothesline, then with a somersault splash for a two count. Irish whip, and Cobra with a back drop, then slaps on a chinlock. Cobra misses something from the top rope, but recovers and connects with a spinning heel kick. Gutwrench suplex by Cobra gets a two, count, as does a crucifix pin attempt. Cobra with a head scissors applied, but Tiger kips up to escape, and we're back to a nuetral position. Cobra pounds away, then connects with a stomach buster, and applies a Boston crab. Cobra releases then quickly applies a surf-board. You didn't see this move very often in the WWF, at least not in 1984. CLIP! Tiger has a full nelson applied, but Cobra escapes and boots him in the face, then connects with a dropkick. Tiger heads to the top, but Cobra slams him off, then applies another head scissors. Irish whip, and Cobra with a shoulder block, but Tiger is quick to his feet and puts Cobra down with a clothesline. Tiger with a knee drop, then covers for a two count. Tiger with a swinging neck breaker, then we clip to both men being down. Irish whip, and Cobra with a spinning heel kick for a two count. Whip to the corner, and Cobra takes Tiger over with a back drop. Cobra with a stiff dropkick, knocking Tiger out of the ring, then follows with a suicide dive! Back in the ring, and Tiger comes off the top rope with a splash. Tiger with a snap suplex, then floats over into a pin for a two count. Tiger with a tombstone piledriver, but again, only gets a two count. Tiger goes for it again, but Cobra counters and connects with his own, then heads to the top rope for a back splash, and that gets the three count at a clipped 7:00 to a huge pop. *** Based on the clip-job done, this was a pretty damn good match. The crowd was kind of "Eh" for it to start, but by the end, these two had the entire crowd eating out of their hands, so you know you've seen a good match.

- Get ready for some atrociousness, as Hulk Hogan trains Mean Gene for some squared circle action! As much as people like to say this is crap, I found it incredibly funny at times. Hogan chastising Okerlund's bad habits when he's supposed to be working out, Hogan wearing a "Gene-Mania" t-shirt during their work outs, and the visual of Hulk forcing Gene to carry him on his back, up many, many sets of stairs as part of his training are just some of the notable moments from these training videos. Yes, the visual of Hogan pushing Gene around like a wheel barrel is a little disturbing, but who hasn't done that at least once with another man? Okay, I haven't, but whatever, I'm TRYING to defend this stuff. This all is done to set us up for our next match...

Hulk Hogan (WWF Champion) & "Mean" Gene Okerlund vs. George "The Animal" Steele & Mr. Fuji:

From the Met Center in Minneapolis, MN, taped on August 26th, 1984. Thankfully, this match is clipped down pretty good, and I am NOT going through the torture of making this a special edition part of the tape. Hogan and Gene are WAY into their pre-match shenanigans. We clip to Hogan and Fuji locking up, and Hogan hammers away. Whip to the corner, and Hogan with a hip toss, followed by a slam. Steele tags in, and Hogan mocks his animal-like behavior. Then we get some stalling. CLIP! Steele has Hogan down on the canvas, and stomps away, but Hogan starts Hulking Up (already)! Hogan hammers away on everything walking, clearing the ring in the process. Okerlund takes a cheap shot at Fuji, then they do some high-fives, and the referee declares a tag was made! I don't know, that's kind of a shitty ruling from the referee. Gene gets in to face the Animal, but runs and quickly tags back out. Hogan with a double noggin-knocker on the bad guys. CLIP! Hogan is still in control, and sends Animal out of the ring with an atomic drop. Hogan whips Fuji into the boots of Okerlund, then slams Mean Gene on top of Fuji for the three count at a heaivly clipped 3:25, with a little push on the butt for assistance, I might add. The full match is pretty bad, but I guess it was cute to do for the live crowd. After the match, Mean Gene helps the Hulkster clear the ring of Steele and Fuji, then the two celebrate in the middle of the ring.

- Larry Zbyszko and Bruno Sammartino have a match in the spirit of competition. Zbyszko was so desperate to prove himself to Sammartino, his idol, that he threatened retirement if Sammartino wouldn't grant him a match to prove himself. The basic point of the match is that whenever Zbyszko seems to be doing well, Sammartino is quick to counter, or would trap him in a hold, then quickly release it or not follow up, subtlely dicking around with Zbyszko's head. After so long, Larry Z' finally snapped and beat the loving piss out of Sammartino, bashing him with a steel chair, and forcing him to wear the crimson mask as a result. Probably one of the best and well known heel turns of it's time, and we go from here, all the way to Queens, New York...

Steel Cage Match:
Bruno Sammartino (w/ Arnold Skaaland) vs. Larry Zbyszko:

From the 1980 supercard "Showdown at Shea", held on the field of, you guessed it, Shea Stadium, in Queens, New York, home of the New York Mets. Probably one of the biggest deals in wrestling at the time, but for time purposes, Coliseum Video gives us a butchered down copy, and I don't feel like going through the hassle of tracking it down in its complete form. Zbyszko tries a sneak attack, but Sammartino catches him coming, and sends him over and over again into the cage wall. Sammartino puts the boots to Zbyszko, and in between shots, they do a clip job. Zbyszko tries for the door, bur Sammartino rakes his face into the cage. Clip to Zbyszko going low on Sammartino to break his momentum. Zbyszko goes for the door, but Sammartino pulls him back, so Zbyszko rams him into the cage for his troubles. Zbyszko tries to escape by climbing, but Sammartino yanks him down with a handful of tights. Sammartino ducks a clothesline and drives a knee into the lower back of Zbyszko. Clip to Sammartino mounting Zbyszko and choking away. Zbyszko climbs the ropes and gets slammed off in the process. Clip to Zbysko working over the right arm of Sammartino. Zbyszko goes for the door, but Sammartino stops him again and we clip to Bruno controlling the action, again. Zbyszko keeps getting extra helpings of cage, all the while, Sammartino sells the arm like it's dead. Sammartino calls for the door, and casually walks out the door for the victory at a clipped 4:57. Afterwards, Zbysko heads out of the ring and raises Sammartino's arm in victory, even though Sammartino keeps throwing blows at him. Talk about being a sore winner... match was pretty intense, but it's hard to rate this one with all the clipping done. I'd recommend tracking it down in full, though.

Final Thoughts: Not a bad showcasing for a tape titled "Best of..." While the time frames are out of sync with each other, almost everything can be considered a best of. The Piper/Snuka stuff, the feud between Sammartino/Zbyszko, the stuff with Cyndi Lauper, the Jr. Heavyweight Title Match, and even the opening match for the tape are stuff worth tracking down. The only downside is that everything on the tape is clipped down, and in some cases, horribly butchered. While I do give a pretty strong recommendation viewing this video release, I have to warn you, don't expect anything to be in it's complete form. Just a heads up.

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