The Coliseum Video Rant XIX: CHRISTMAS KERFLUFFLE!
– Well, in an amazing Christmas miracle, my friend Porno Brian was digging through his collection of videotapes while cleaning them out, and managed to find a few old In Your House shows that I didn’t have copies of. But when I picked them up, he had gone that extra mile and brought me more than FIFTY assorted WWF tapes from 1990-98 that I also needed. Amongst them were tons of SNMEs, tons of old Superstars (Maple Leaf Wrestling up here) from 88-90, and a few Coliseum videos that I hadn’t done yet. Included were a couple of volumes of the elusive Hulkamania series, but I figured that since it’s Christmas, I’d spare y’all that particular rant yet. So, given what was left, our latest blast from the past takes us back to 1986, with Rowdy Roddy Piper’s Greatest Hits and Country Boys.
– Tape #1: Rowdy Roddy Piper’s Greatest Hits.
– Mean Gene gives a bitter introduction to the tape, complaining about having to host a self-serving tape of Piper’s lowpoints. Piper was still firmly a heel at this point, in case you couldn’t figure it out.
– Piper’s Pit: Roddy interviews Andre the Giant, who blows him off and tells him to mind his own business at every question. Piper confronts him with John Studd’s (false) claims of having slammed Andre, so Andre calls him a liar and slaps him around like a bitch, then casually walks away. Piper, in a desperate bid to save face, throws a tantrum and gives a famous quip for the camera: “You don’t throw stones at a man carrying a machine gun!Ã¢â‚¬Â Classic heel Piper. 1 for 1.
– Roddy Piper & “Dr. DÃ¢â‚¬Â David Schultz v. Andre the Giant & Jimmy Snuka. From MSG. Piper of course lets Dr. D start with Andre, showing his giving side. We’re clipped a bit to Piper finally tagging himself in, and then out again immediately. Andre seems amused by all this. This was pretty much the last period in which Andre was still having fun out there. Dr. D grabs a headlock, but goes into a criss-cross and nearly gets knocked out of the ring when he runs into Andre’s ass. Funny spot. Piper consoles him, then encourages him to attack Andre from behind. So with Andre down, Piper finally comes in and starts slugging away. Andre shrugs him off and DESTROYS him, and the crowd is going nuts for it. Piper runs to Schultz and lets him have a try, to no effect. Andre charges at Dr. D in the corner, however, and hits knee. Dave drops an elbow for two. Piper sneaks in and nails Andre with his trusty brass knuckles (“Steel brass knuckles!Ã¢â‚¬Â Gorilla exclaims) then stomps away on him after giving him time to open up an impressive bladejob. The heels keep working him over until it turns into a really primo gory job. Finally medics declare Andre unfit to continue and it appears that Piper’s team has won, but now Snuka wants to continue it alone. Piper overpowers him, but Snuka rallies and takes out both guys. Piper cheapshots him for two, and Dr. D continues working him over. Andre suddenly (well, as suddenly as Andre ever moved) returns from the dressing room, wrapped up like the Mummy, and raises holy hell on the heel side until Piper & Schultz just get the hell out of Dodge after earning a DQ victory for Andre’s interference at 12:21. Sometimes you just have to take what you’re given when Andre is in there. Just pure entertainment the whole way through. 2 for 2.
– Piper’s Pit: Roddy interviews longtime jobber Frankie Williams, basically berating him for being a huge loser and wondering how Frankie can continue living with himself, while Piper has never actually lost a match. Williams stands up for himself, so Piper beats him to a pulp. A weird segment that has gained notoriety over the years, but on its own it doesn’t really amount to anything. 2 for 3.
– Roddy goes to the A-Team set and verbally harasses Mr. T, unleashing his motormouth until T has finally had enough and goes after him. Piper’s annoying verbal diarrhea was usually hilarious. 3 for 4.
– WWF World title: Hulk Hogan v. Rowdy Roddy Piper. This is “The War to Settle The ScoreÃ¢â‚¬Â, broadcast live on MTV 15 years prior to the Viacom deal. The undercard featured “The Brawl to Settle It AllÃ¢â‚¬Â between Wendi Richter & Fabulous Moolah, plus the somewhat-less inspired “Colossal JostleÃ¢â‚¬Â between King Kong Bundy and Andre the Giant. Hillbilly Jim also made his WWF debut at this show, killing Rene Goulet in a non-televised match that happens to be on the Country Boys tape that is up next. Sadly, that match had no witty rhyming title, except maybe “The Squash To See Who’s PoshÃ¢â‚¬Â. Anyway, Roddy smashes a guitar to stress that, indeed, he does hate rock n’ roll, as part of his introduction. Hey, Joe Piscopo is in the audience! Um, I have no witty followup to that. I mean, it’s Joe Piscopo, why waste the A-list material? It should be noted that Vince was too cheap at this point to pay royalties to Survivor, and thus “Eye of the TigerÃ¢â‚¬Â is overdubbed with the cheesiest, most 80s-sounding generic synth muzak ever puked up by Kenny G, which then makes it all the funnier when the crowd appears to go crazy upon hearing it. Hogan wins a slugfest and they rolls around on the mat. Hogan drops an elbow, but Piper clotheslines him for two. He stomps away for two. Sleeper, and things look bad for the Orange Goblin, so the crowd goes insane to rally him. Hogan hotshots to break, but Piper goes to the eyes and Bob Orton chokes him down for good measure. Hogan comes back and slugs Piper down, and they take turns raking each other’s eyes like a pair of teenage girls fighting over an autographed pair of Heath Ledger’s underwear. I’m not up on my teen idols these days, so if my pop culture referencing is a little weak in that area you’ll have to forgive me. I don’t think my demographics skew too heavily towards the 14-year old girls anyway, I’m more of an 18-34 males kinda writer, according to Engage before they went bankrupt. Sadly, this is still better than anything the Jurassic Pair did in WCW. Paul Orndorff joins us at ringside as Hogan gets an atomic drop and the ref is bumped. Orndorff and Piper double-team Hogan, until Mr. T makes the save. Man, if he wasn’t at ringside, Hogan might have been DEAD today. Unless of course Joe Piscopo and Danny DeVito ran in from THEIR ringside position, which would have made Wrestlemania a radically different type of show. Hey, maybe Piscopo could be the 1-800-Collect spokesman today instead of doing guest shots on Law & Order! “Hi, I’m Joe Piscopo, and when I need to call my agent and remind him that I used to be on Saturday Night Live like 40 years ago, I use 1-800-Collect!Ã¢â‚¬Â Anyway, Piper attacks Mr. T to further their feud, but Hogan decides to hulk up. Man, that referee has been out for like 5 minutes, how come none of the medics are checking on HIM? The heels flee, and it’s a Sportz Entertainment Finish 15 years before they existed, call it 7:20 or so. A huge brawl erupts, setting up Wrestlemania. Good enough for what it was. 4 for 5.
– Piper’s Pit: Roddy decides to raise the intellectual bar by interviewing his all-time favorite wrestler and human being in general: Himself. So with the good ol’ merged screen trick, he brings himself onto the set. The other version of himself proceeds to give a whacked-out, rambling promo, answering a letter from Hulk Hogan’s mother, discussing how to best eat frogs for health benefits, and the best way to get your wife pregnant (“Call me.Ã¢â‚¬Â). And people wonder if there were drugs going around in the 80s? The twin Pipers lavish praise on each other and promise never to beat each other up. Incredibly funny bit. 5 for 6.
– Mean Gene travels to Piper’s private gym to observe the training sessions for Wrestlemania. Piper & Orndorff are there, “meditatingÃ¢â‚¬Â, as Orndorff sits in the lotus position and Piper speaks in tongues while shaking like a crack addict. Bizarre stuff. He awakes and gets pissed off at being interrupted, and we cut to Orndorff doing weight training, as Gene keeps pestering them until they finally throw him out on the street, and then beat up a pedestrian. Not much here. 5 for 7.
– From Tuesday Night Titans: Roddy Piper & Bob Orton visit a doctor, along with Vince McMahon, for a checkup on Orton’s long-injured arm. X-Rays reveal, to the shock of no one, that there’s nothing wrong with the “brokenÃ¢â‚¬Â arm. Piper immediately claims that someone framed Orton by switching x-rays. So the doctor does a physical exam of the arm, but Orton flinches on the reflex test BEFORE the doctor hits his arm with the hammer. The doctor openly accuses Orton of faking the injury, but gets drowned out by Piper making quacking noises in as annoying a manner as humanly possible. Very, very funny. 6 for 8.
– Piper’s Pit: We pick up the end of the Jimmy Snuka episode, as Piper berates him for not speaking proper English, and offers to “bring a tree next time so you can run up and down it like the monkey you are.Ã¢â‚¬Â We need a lawyer, STAT. Piper then offers Snuka a banana, and then throws coconuts at him until an exasperated Snuka gets up to leave. Piper then grabs a breakaway coconut out of the bag and shatters it over his head, knocking the whole set over in the process, and then just kicks the shit out of him. Classic angle. 7 for 9.
– From TNT: Vince gets in Piper’s face about the attack. Piper flips out and smacks Lord Alfred Hayes around, because Vince didn’t take bumps back then. Hey, anyone who backhands that smarmy bastard Alfred is okay by me. 8 for 10.
– Jimmy Snuka v. Roddy Piper. Lou Thesz is YOUR special referee, which is weird because I thought he only came into existance as far as the WWF is concerned once Austin started using his finisher. Piper goes to the eyes and slugs away, but Snuka fights back and Piper bails. Back in, Piper gets a cheapshot and takes over. Kneelift gets two. Snuka fires back and Piper bails again, but suckers him out this time and gives him the ol’ chair to the face. Back in, Piper pounds away, but gets chopped and bails again. Snuka chases and decimates him on the floor, then chairs him right back into the ring. Back in, Thesz is bumped off a wayward Snuka headbutt. Snuka goes up with a bodypress, no ref. Piper steals Lou’s belt, and starts whipping Snuka until Thesz interjects himself. Piper decks him, so Thesz & Snuka chase him off to give Snuka the countout win at 6:50. A short, but wild, brawl. 9 for 11.
– Piper reads a letter from Jimmy Snuka’s young son, begging for mercy on his father’s behalf, so that Piper will stop beating him up. Piper spits on it. 10 for 12.
– Piper’s Pit: Snuka’s replacement, The Tonga Kid, badmouths Piper on his “cousin’sÃ¢â‚¬Â behalf. Tonga DOES speak proper English, and would be better known as Islander Tama. His real name is Sam Fatu, and his brother is Solafa Fatu, who, as you’ve probably deduced by now, is Rikishi. The interview goes nowhere. 10 for 13.
– Roddy Piper v. The Tonga Kid. From Philly soon after that interview. Piper & Tonga slug it out and Piper is reeling already. Piper bails, but gets dragged in and hammered. Piper bumps all over the place and begs for mercy, but then goes to the eyes and takes over. Backbreaker gets two. Tonga no-sells and dances, but tries a headlock and gets suplexed like a green rookie. Piper keeps choking him out and badmouthing Snuka. Piper goes to a facelock and we’re clipped to Tonga’s escape, as he hooks his own facelock and then simply hits a vertical suplex to break. Tonga fights back and no-sells some shots to the head. Piper bails, but drags Tonga out with him and just MURDERS him. Piper heads back, then jumps Snuka and brings Tonga back in. I thought that would be the finish, but Snuka charges in for the DQ at 5:21. Bob Orton joins in the fun and I smell a tag match! Match was all punching and no-selling and stuff. 10 for 14.
– Roddy Piper & “CowboyÃ¢â‚¬Â Bob Orton v. Jimmy Snuka & The Tonga Kid. This is from MSG. The polynesian faction clears the ring, and we’ve got a donnybrook to start. The heels get their clocks cleaned, and Tonga starts working on Piper’s arm. Bodyblock gets two, back to the arm. Piper lures him into the corner, but Tonga waits patiently for Orton and then goes at his arm, too. Powerslam gets two. Snuka comes in and stays on the arm. Piper short-arms the tag, leaving Orton to the wolves. Orton finally tags him in, and Piper gets the worst part of Snuka. Snuka drops a fist and Piper calls for time, then bails. I guess there is a timeout in the world of pro wrestling after all, Gorilla. Snuka pulls him back in, but gets poked in the eye. Orton slams him, but misses a pump splash off the top. Tonga comes in and he’s on fire, and it’s not just hemmorhoids! Superkick for Piper, but the heels pound him in the corner and Piper hangs him with the tag rope. Ah, the tag rope, those were the days. The heels double-team him and Orton comes off with a forearm shot and a boogie-woogie elbowdrop. Piper then starts to work a hammerlock, and Orton helps out by turning it into a vicious series of knees and elbows being dropped in succession by the heels onto that arm. Great psychology there as they hold him on the mat. Tonga fights away, but Orton knocks Snuka off the apron and Piper gets two on Tonga and hits the chinlock. Tonga fights out, but Orton forearms him off the top again. Tonga sunset flips Orton for two, but gets pounded down again for two. Piper comes in, but puts his head down and gets nailed. Tonga is dazed and finds the wrong corner, however. He finally fights loose, hot tag Snuka. Orton gets headbutted for two, but Piper saves. Snuka charges and hits a knee, allowing Orton to go for the superplex, but Snuka shoves him off and the crowd goes crazy as Snuka follows him down with a bodypress for a HOT two count, with Piper lunging over to make the save at the last moment. They toss Snuka, but Tonga is game to go alone. The heels beat him up and Orton goes up to finish him, but Snuka recovers and shoves him down, into Piper. Tonga & Snuka regroup outside, head back in, and a huge barn-burning, BONZO GONZO brawl erupts until the referees finally break the whole thing up at 14:53 for the no-contest. Great old-school stuff. 11 for 15.
The Bottom Line #1: You may or may not have noticed that none of the matches actually have an actual decision rendered (which wasn’t uncommon for Piper’s matches), which is a minor quibble on an otherwise very entertaining tape featuring Piper back before he got off the drugs and went Hollywood.
– Tape #2: The Country Boys.
– Yes, it’s Vince’s favorite repressed sex fantasy Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the big ol’ hillbilly with down-home know-how who just likes rasslin’ (or “scufflin’Ã¢â‚¬Â, as it’s apparently called in the southern states). I don’t know what it is exactly with Vince and redneck cartoon characters, but I think maybe he’s seen Deliverance one time more than is healthy for a grown man.
– Hulk Hogan teaches Hillbilly Jim proper nutrition and training. The idea is that Hogan “discoveredÃ¢â‚¬Â Jim in Kentucky wrestling bears in a circus and brought him to the WWF. In reality, talent scouts discovered Jim doing a biker gimmick in Memphis and decided that anyone with that kind of size and power was a worth a shot. Anyway, Hogan’s training techniques don’t work so well, because apparently Jim is so dumb that he can’t even benchpress properly. We do some Tough Enough training, as Hogan teaches him to run the ropes and do squats. No promo training while Tazz hurls insults at him, sadly enough. But, weeks pass as they do, and eventually Jim becomes the wrestling machine we know today. 0 for 1.
– Hillbilly Jim v. Terry Gibbs. Jim’s TV debut, with Hogan at ringside. Gibbs gets some token jobber offense, but walks into a bearhug at 1:45. 0 for 2.
– More training clips. Hogan gets jobber AJ Petrucci to put him a hammerlock, and he then demonstrates three ways to escape: Snapmare, reversal, or drop-toehold. When does Hogan EVER do any of those things? And why not? Hell, he looked perfectly good doing them there. AJ tries the hammerlock on Jim, but Jim’s method of escaping is simply to power out of it. Hulk is so proud of him that he gives him his boots, an angle he would recycle 9 years later with Evad Sullivan. Worth a point just to see Hulk Hogan demonstrating the finer points of chain wrestling. 1 for 3.
– Hillbilly Jim v. Rene Goulet. It’s “The Squash to Be PoshÃ¢â‚¬Â, or “The Scuffle That Caused a KerfluffleÃ¢â‚¬Â, if you will. Stalling a-gogo to start. They finally lock up and Goulet gets tossed around. He tries a headlock but gets powered off. Jim tries his own, but Goulet can’t get him off no matter what. Finally he makes the ropes and bails, then goes for an international object which may or may not exist. He chokes away on Jim, but that just pisses him off and he clubs Goulet into the middle of next Tuesday, then finishes with the good ol’ bearhug at 7:29. This, got nearly 8 minutes and was about as insanely bad as you might imagine. 1 for 4.
– An injured Jim introduces Uncle Elmer to Jesse Ventura. Hilarity ensues. 1 for 5.
– Piper’s Pit: Jim’s still injured, so he introduces Elmer to Roddy Piper. Even more hilarity ensues. See, Elmer’s really fat and stupid, and uh that’s pretty much it, really. 1 for 6.
– Uncle Elmer v. Tiger Chung Lee. Lee attacks right away, but Elmer shrugs him off. Lee bails and regroups and we get some stalling. Lee attacks again, but gets flattened and hit with the ugliest legdrop this side of Hulk Hogan’s lobotomized twin brother, nearly killing the poor guy in the process, for the pin at 2:25. Think Yokozuna’s legdrop, if his ass landed on the guy’s face because he wasn’t able to bend at the waist while doing the move. 1 for 7.
– Big John Studd v. Uncle Elmer. PLEASE BE QUICK, PLEASE BE QUICK, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE. Studd attacks before the bell and stomps him down, but Elmer comes back and a brawl erupts with the managers at 2:40. Whew. 1 for 8.
– Jim & Elmer sing a duet on Tuesday Night Titans, and treat Vince & Alfred to some down-home cooking, in this case possum burgers and buttermilk. The sketch just drags on and ON until I guess the last 5-year old deaf & mute boy in America gets the gag about Hayes being the proper British gentlemen who is offended by eating roadkill. Just brutally stupid. 1 for 9.
– And now we do the reviewing equivalent of pushing through the sound barrier like Chuck Yeager, moving into the next level of horrible ideas Cousin Junior.
– Cousin Junior v. Ron Shaw. Oh DEAR GOD make this tape stop. Or Santa. Anyone listening, by all that is holy, NO MORE HILLBILLIES. Junior gets a mulekick at 1:35 after 1:34 of stalling. Junior, who was presumed to be EVEN DUMBER than Jim & Elmer, was later used as the template for Phineas I. Godwinn, with the same mannerisms and personality (or lack thereof). 1 for 10.
– Cousin Junior v. Adrian Adonis. This was the transitional phase for Adrian, as he was getting unpleasantly plump but still dressed like a street tough. Junior gets a couple of armdrags. Adonis bails, but cheapshots Junior and stomps away. Kneedrop and elbowdrop get two. Suplex gets two. There was like 30 seconds between all of those moves, as Adonis realizes what his place in the pecking order is at this point and adjusts his work ethic accordingly. Junior fights back with kicks, but gets tied up in the ropes and the ref DQ’d Adonis at 6:01. Awful, brutally slow and stupid match that was everything wrong about the WWF in 6 minutes, including a bad gimmick, bad workrate, blown spots galore from Junior, and a bad finish. 1 for 11.
– Cousin Junior v. Moondog Spot. Spot bails right away. Back in, stalling and the crowd just gets on them with no mercy. Junior rings his ears, and Spots bails and stalls again. The “boringÃ¢â‚¬Â chants get so loud that they clip the match to Junior pounding Spot in the corner, splash gets two, mulekick finishes at 5:57 shown. Who in their right mind would give this matchup anything over 5 minutes to begin with? Junior is just beyond horrible. 1 for 12.
– Cousin Junior & Uncle Elmer v. Barry O & Jerry Adams. Oh boy, another squash. Bing bang boom, mulekicks for both jobbers and Junior sits on Barry for the pin at 2:16. 1 for 13.
– Mercifully, the tape limps to an end with Uncle Elmer’s wedding on SNME, as Roddy Piper interrupts, insults everyone, but sadly does not break up the ceremony by announcing that he already married the bride in Vegas while she was on narcotics given to her by the bartender. Elmer still finishes the vows and gets married. I never got the big deal with this angle other than perhaps camp value. 1 for 14.
The Bottom Line #2: As Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel might say, “Hey, Brandine, this here tape sucks ass!Ã¢â‚¬Â I’m sure Vince keeps it in his, ahem, private stash for future viewings, however.
The Bottom Bottom Line: Piper rules, hillbillies blow.
Next time: Will the pieces start to fall in place for the historic Coliseum Video Rant XX and The Hulkamania Marathon Rant to coincide with each other? STAY TUNED TO FIND OUT!