The SmarK Retro Rant for Stampede Classics Volume 4: Bizarre & Unusual!
– This is both the best and worst tape in the series, for completely different reasons. I’m sure the theme here is easy to figure out.
– Hair v. Hair match: Dynamite Kid v. Bruce Hart. The setup interview establishes the stipulations, and since Kid already has a crew-cut poor JR Foley has to be the guy who puts his hair up on Kid’s behalf. JIP at 10:00 or so. Bruce works the arm and opens a cut on the Kid’s head, then suplexes him for the double KO. Hart is up first and he stomps away and grabs an abdominal stretch. Kid tosses him as he escapes. Back in, DK drops a knee and an elbow, then goes up, but inexplicably falls off and gets pinned at 3:22. And indeed, JR Foley gets shaved. Pretty bad match for the Kid. Ã‚Â½*
– Manager v. Referee: JR Foley v. Cedric Hathaway. Cedric is of course the referee, and he is NOT in wrestling shape. He was always playing the ultra-babyface ref (a role later assumed by Wayne Hart) while Sandy Scott was the heel ref (a role later assumed by Ron Hayter), and since they were actually consistent about their usage of the refs it tended to be an okay booking device. You at least knew that if that rat bastard Hayter was reffing things, that the babyface would probably get screwed over. Anyway, the less-than-intimidating Hathaway pounds away, but Foley knees him, so Cedric goes low and Foley bails. Back in, Foley goes for a neckbreaker but Hathaway doesn’t actually know how to take the move or sell it. So they do it again, and this time Hathaway takes a face-first bump halfway into the move, which results in JR Foley inventing the Diamond Cutter in 1980. So there you go. And I guess he’s a perfectionist, because he does ANOTHER neckbreaker, and Hathaway f*cks it up AGAIN before Foley finally gives up and goes to the top before Hathaway just shrugs all that off and pops up to slam Foley off. This may have been one of the worst sequences in a wrestling match that I’ve EVER seen. Cedric gets a Boston Crab, but Foley’s kid Athol runs in for the DQ at 2:16. This made Kronic v. Undertaker & Kane look like a decent match. -****
– Battle of the Sexes: Athol Foley v. Wendi Richter. Regular readers of mine may already know of my disdain for Richter and her interviews, and she cuts another marble-mouthed southern hick classic to set up this match. Richter was a heel at this point, managed by JR Foley, and Athol ran in and screwed up the interference to cost her a tag match, so Richter was mad. Athol then challenged her to a match, which was made even weirder when babyface ref Cedric Hathaway decided to force Athol into taking a match with Richter, even though he was the one who originally challenged her! Even worse, neither Richter nor Foley speak English Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Richter speaks Hardyish and Foley is British Ã¢â‚¬â€œ so the buildup interview was a total disaster to listen to. For who have never had the rare privelage of watching Athol Foley attempt to wrestle, picture David Flair with a mohawk and even less talent. Sadly, he was British Mid-Heavyweight champion for some reason. Foley stomps her down and gets two. Richter grabs a headlock, but gets slammed. She biels him and gets a dropkick to come back. They stagger through a charge-reverse spot, screwing up the whip portion twice and the actual charge once, before starting again and getting the spot right. Foley comes back with a suplex where he changes his mind in mid-move and turns it into a slam, thus inventing the Jackhammer. Poor Wendi isn’t quite sure how to go with the move. Foley crotches himself and gets put into a Boston Crab until JR Foley comes in for the DQ at 5:20. Wow, the same stupid finish two matches in a row. This was a disaster of epic proportions, but at least Wendi has nice cans. -**
– Loch Ness v. Dave Morgan. Kill me now. Yes, this is the same big fat tub who actually got a contract with WCW in 1996 before dying soon after. His match with Paul Wight at Uncensored remains one of the highlights of my life and easily made Netcop Busts. For those who keep e-mailing about it, Netcop Busts is not a rant, it’s a tape that I made several years ago that compiled the worst stuff I had ever seen in wrestling. The source tape literally fell apart in 1999 after more than 300 copyings and I haven’t offered it since. I understand that bootleg copies actually got really popular and you can probably find a copy from a tape trader if you look hard enough, but I’m no longer fielding inquiries about that sort of thing. Anyway, Morgan bounces off Ness’ bulk like an asteroid sucked into the gravitional field of Jupiter a few times before Ness literally falls on him and gets the knockout win at 1:16. DUD
– And now, it’s time for everyone’s favorite part of any novelty compilation MIDGET MADNESS!
– Animal Manson & The San Francisco Kid v. Steve Logan & Coconut Willie. Logan & Manson are random normal-sized jobbers. The Kid piledrives Willie and bites away. Manson and Logan go next, and Logan gets a monkey flip for two. The midgets get back in and Willie gets a rolling cradle for two. The heels collide and Willie pins MANSON at 3:32. Okay, that was cute. DUD
– Tiger Jackson & Sky Low Low v. Little Beaver & Sonny Boy. Sonny Boy moves Sky into his corner, but gets smacked accidentally by Little Beaver. Tiger Jackson (later to gain worldwide fame and dignity as Dink The Clown) gets a bodypress for two. Crowd chants “We want Beaver!Ã¢â‚¬Â and knowing Calgary it’s probably the animal they’re talking about. Sonny Boy catapults Jackson into the turnbuckles, but it takes two separate tries to get him that far. Sky comes in and Beaver splashes him for the pin at 2:33. I don’t rate midget matches.
– Abdullah the Butcher v. Jerry Morrow. Butcher tosses him and won’t let him back in, as he keeps knocking him off the apron. In fact, he goes right through the announce table on one shot. Morrow is dead on the floor and Bret Hart leaves the color position to tell him to stay down, but Butcher drags him back in for the elbowdrop which gets two. Butcher punches the ref for the DQ at 5:21. Man there’s some bad finishes on this tape. DUD
– Helmet match: Jim Neidhart v. Iron Mike Sharpe. This is early in Neidhart’s career, as he was clean-shaven and sporting a full head of hair. Both are wearing football helmets, because in Neidhart’s fantasy world he was on the Oakland Raiders. Sharpe headbutts him, and Neidhart responds. Neither does any damage, because they’re wearing helmets, duh. JR Foley finally throws salt at Neidhart, and while the ref is distracted Sharpe pulls off Jim’s helmet and delivers one more headbutt for the pin at 1:44. The streak of bad matches lives. DUD
– But now the tape is saved! In 1988, even as the promotion was dying, booker Bruce Hart nearly managed to create the one angle that might have given it another burst of life if fate hadn’t intervened. Needing a new monster heel, he found huge-but-unknown Karl Moffat and stuck him in a pair of white coveralls and gave him a hockey mask as the entire range of his character, naming him Jason the Terrible after Friday the 13th. Then, in the brilliant part, he took WWF jobber Barry “OÃ¢â‚¬Â Orton and turned him into a whacked-out masked manager called “The ZodiakÃ¢â‚¬Â who prayed to the Almighty Luke and used a voice-distortion box to do all the talking. All of their promos were shot over a moving starfield and then filtered so the colors were reversed. On the first one shown here, Jason spends the whole interview growling in the background, before getting so excited at the prospect of beating up Mr. Hito that he attacks the cameraman with his ever-present axe until Zodiak makes him calm down and pray for forgiveness from Luke on the spot. To say these guys got a cult following would be a drastic understatement Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Jason got so over as a monster heel (in fact one that established the exact template from which Kane was created 10 years later Ã¢â‚¬â€œ hell, Jason was so scary that even Mr. Hito started wearing boots for the first time in about 10 years) that he was turned face a few months later and probably would have taken his act to the WWF if Davey Boy Smith hadn’t nearly killed him in a car wreck soon after. Moffat’s leg was shattered and his career was essentially ended. Zodiak became unneeded and lost a mask v. mask match against Jason, revealing Barry Orton, at which point Ed Whalen completed the burial by noting that he didn’t recognize him. His identity was later confirmed on TV, which leads me to a story from three years later, as the WWF did one of those incredibly boring 5-hour Superstars tapings here in Edmonton to build up for Summerslam 91. Barry O returned to the WWF as a jobber there, doing a job against some lame-o midcard babyface, and I forget which one. I think it was either Virgil or Greg Valentine. Anyway, the babyface gets their usual middling reaction, but when Barry O is introduced the place goes NUTS and everyone starts chanting “Zodiak! Zodiak!Ã¢â‚¬Â until poor Barry has trouble keeping a straight face. I don’t think that match ever made it to the air. Anyway, there’s been a ton of people playing the fearsome Jason character since Stampede, but none of them had the panache that Karl Moffat did with it. I think that it was because had black wrist tape and painted a white “JÃ¢â‚¬Â on each one. I dunno why, but for someone as essentially crazy as Jason the Terrible to take the time to do that always struck me as really neat.
– Jason the Terrible v. Hiro Hase. Jason pounds the shit out of Hase and goes up for four flying headbutts with the hockey mask, picking up Hase after each one before the ref finally does a mercifully-fast count on the fourth one to prevent him from picking Hase up again at 2:04. DUD
– The Zodiak v. Chris Benoit. JIP as Benoit fights out of a headlock, but Zodiak goes up and gets crotched. Superplex gets two. Benoit goes up but hits knee. Zodiak tries a suplex, which is reversed. Blind charge misses, and Benoit fights back. Gutwrench gets two. Snap suplex gets two. Backslide gets two. Dropkick misses, but Benoit reverses a DDT into a northern lights suplex for two. He stomps a mudhole, but Zodiak loads up the mask and gets the cheap win at 4:26. **1/4
– And it’s more Jason & Zodiak promo awesomeness, as they have words for the Hart Family. Zodiak threatens to “discombobulateÃ¢â‚¬Â Owen Hart, because LUKE IS ANGRY! These things have to be seen to be truly appreciated for the works of art they were. If our server wasn’t horribly stressed enough as it is, I’d capture this one and put it up on the site.
– Owen Hart v. Jason the Terrible. This match was HUGE when it finally happened, and they ended up getting about 4 rematches out of it after Jason had spent a couple of months plowing through the entire promotion one-by-one. Why the WWF can’t figure this simple formula out anymore is beyond me. Owen gets a kneedrop for two. Butterfly suplex and owen goes up for a flying stomp and a kneedrop, but Zodiak distracts him long enough for Jason to nail him from behind. Headbutt gets two. Owen gets a crucifix for such a close two that everyone in the building thought it was the finish. Jason gets a powerslam and goes up, but Owen superplexes him for two. Back up for Owen with a Bombs Away, and Owen suplexes him right out of the ring! Great bump from Jason. They keep fighting for the double countout at 3:29. More matches were to come before Owen finally triumphed. **
The Bottom Line:
A truly, truly HORRIBLE tape filled with bad gimmick matches and worse finishes that is redeemed at the end by the genius of Zodiak & Jason. If you’ve never seen them, drop some acid and check out their promos, but otherwise this tape is a total pass.
Next time: Volume 5 – EPIC BATTLES!