The Coliseum Video Rant XV


The Coliseum Video Rant XV: After Fifteen, I’ve Run Out of Witty Titles.

– Anyway, onto brass tacks. I’m pretty sure I’ve never posted any of these to Wrestlemaniacs/Wrestleline in the past (although in checking my archives at WL I realized what an ungodly run of stuff is there to begin with), so perhaps a word of explanation is in order. Back in 1998 when I was archiving my 10 or so rants on a little cult website on Geocities run by myself with crappy HTML and no real title, I used to get really strange requests for stuff and people would just send me old tapes to review for fun. I ended up, through my fanbase and the timely intervention of a good video store right next to my apartment building, with a good collection of previously viewed and/or unopened copies of a TON of old WWF videos from 1985 until Coliseum Video’s untimely death in 1997. So what I started doing was blowing through a bunch of tapes, generally 3 or 4 at a time, and basically summarizing whether the tape was worth a 99 cent rental or cheap buy or whatever. However, since a lot of it WAS late 80s and early 90s WWF, there’s a lot of crap there. So the ratings would tend to go DUD, DUD, DUD, DUD, -* and the occasional **. So I switched my ratings system somewhat, instead going with a point system, where a match with some sort of redeeming quality (any redeeming quality, really) gets a point, and otherwise it doesn’t. If the tape hits over .500, it’s worth a rental. Anyway, from 98-99, I did 14 of those suckers, covering a good run of WWF stuff, and if the demand is there I’ll post them again to Wrestleline for you to see. Anyway, in the 13th one, I did Monday Night RAW Prime Cuts and Best of Ricky Steamboat, and promised to cover the rest of the shows I had on that particular tape in the next one. Well, I kind of forgot about that promise for 2 years. My bad. So now, for your reading pleasure, the Coliseum Video Rant returns with a vengeance, as we journey back to 1995 for Slamfest ’95 and Best of Razor Ramon!

Tape #1: Slamfest ’95.

– Your host is Ted Dibiase.

– Basically this a bunch of TV matches from mid 1994, some aired, some not. I always liked the way they used to just tape stuff from house shows in case they ever wanted to use it, but that practice died off when the biz tanked in 1990, sadly.

– Intercontinental title match: Diesel v. Lex Luger. This is from RAW just before Summerslam 94, and HBK is in Diesel’s corner. I know, I know, Kevin Nash v. Lex Luger as your first match is a bad sign, but Nash wasn’t that bad during this period because Michaels was basically coaching him on the business on a daily basis. Power matchup to start, but neither guy can get the upper hand. Diesel shoves him out. Back in, Luger gets a sunset flip for two. Diesel comes back with the corner elbows (unframed) and the LEGLIFT OF DOOM. Luger powerslams him for two and slugs away, prompting a timeout for Diesel. Back in, Luger escapes the Poochiebomb, but charges and ends up on the floor. Diesel slams him on the floor, allowing nefarious scheming from Shawn. Commercial break, and we return with Diesel using a sleeper. Lex escapes, but Diesel goes right back to it. Luger suplexes out and mounts the comeback, with three clotheslines and a DDT for two. Flying lariat gets two. Blind charge hits boot, ref is bumped. Lex gets the Torture Rack, no ref of course. Shawn superkicks Lex to break the move, revives the ref and Diesel .gets .two. Ramon joins us, chases Shawn around, and it’s what Bret Hart might call a “schmoz” at 9:24. God, remember when they were giving 10 minutes to midcarders on one-hour RAWs? This was, by the way, 8 bazillion times better than you’d expect from Nash v. Luger. 1 for 1.

– 1-2-3 Kid v. Yokozuna. Commentator Stan Lane marvels at the very thought of getting such a great matchup. Kid ducks and dodges to start, but runs into him. He uses his “martial arts kicks” (tm Gorilla Monsoon) to stagger Yoko and he ends up on the floor. Gorilla works in the External Occipital Pertuberance catchphrase. Back in, Kid kicks him in the face, but one forearm drops him. Kid takes a monster bump over the top. Kid comes back with more kicks but Yoko sidesteps him and continues the punishment. Surprise rollup gets two for the Kid. Yoko misses a blind charge, more kicks from the Kid follow. He walks into a belly to belly for the pin at 5:27. Hey, that big fat guy was giving that little skinny guy way too much offense it’s unrealistic and they’ll never get over! And SELLING for him? When did this “1-2-3 Kid” guy ever pay his dues? For the sarcasm impaired, anyone who wants to e-mail me and whine about how “big guys” shouldn’t have to sell for “little guys” because it’s not realistic please feel free to watch this match as a poignant counter-example of what a little bit of selling can do to help someone’s career. 2 for 2.

– Bret Hart & Davey Boy Smith v. Owen Hart & Jim Neidhart. BEST TAPE EVER. Owen & Bret start. Owen gets beat on a lockup and celebrates. Funny stuff. They do a mat sequence that leads to a Bret hammerlock, with Owen audibly complaining about whatever he can think of the entire time. Crucifix gets two and Bret stays on the arm. Criss-cross and Bret dumps Owen. We’re clipped to Davey getting beat in the heel corner and chinlocked by Anvil. Owen comes in with a legdrop for two, and the ENZUIGIRI OF DEATH for two. Inverted atomic drop and the heels make a wish on Bulldog. Owen prevents a tag, prompting Bret to chase him. Owen sneaks in, the New Foundation hits a Heart Attack on Bulldog and they get two. Choking and heel tactics follow. Owen’s neckbreaker gets two. Double KO, and heel miscommunication prompts the hot tag. Bret’s a house of fire. Double noggin-knocker, and he even pulls out a Thesz Press on Anvil. By the way, to answer all the incessant questions about it, he then does the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM in order: Atomic drop, clothesline, russian legsweep, backbreaker and second-rope elbow for two on Owen. To prove this must have been a big match for him, he even throws in the Bonus Moves: The snap suplex into the Sharpshooter. Anvil breaks it up. Bulldog comes in, but Anvil nails him. Bulldog small packages Owen, but Anvil pushes them over, gets escorted out, and Bret pushes them back, putting Bulldog on top for the win at 11:03. Good stuff from the family so dysfunctional these days that they can’t even talk to each other. 3 for 3.

– Jeff Jarrett v. Doink the Clown. This would be Doink IV, Ray Licachelli, who debuted the doofy new costume at Wrestlemania X and came complete with midget sidekick Dink. On the flipside, he’s a better worker than Matt Osbourne, but had zero charisma and pretty much killed the gimmick. This is again from RAW, Septemberish 1994. Jarrett works on the leg, but gets hiptossed and slammed. He grabs a headlock after Dink’s interference. That goes on for a bit. This was of course during the apex of the epic King v. Clown feud that carried the WWF through most of the 1994 and produced all those **** main events. JJ grabs an abdominal stretch and redeems it by using the ropes. Vince fills the airtime by actually trying to explain the underlying logic to the storyline behind the midgets v. midgets feud for those who CAN’T UNDERSTAND IT. You haven’t lived until you’ve heard a grown man talk about one man “outsmarting” another by introducing a new surprise midget partner named “Wink” to oppose one named “Queasy”. Dink breaks the hold and Doink comes back with a dropkick, but Lawler’s newest secret midget weapon, Cheesy the Midget, hits the ring and helps Queasy double-team Doink. Vince apologizes for not having a name for the guy yet. He’s got a couple of midgets in king costumes beating up a grown man with a clown suit and he’s worried because the fans might be intellectually insulted due to the lack of a NAME? Back in, Jarrett regains control and gets a dropkick for two. You know it’s 1994 when major storyline development involves introducing new midgets and Bob “Sparkplug” Holly is still to come on RAW. Doink misses an elbow and Jarrett gets a sleeper. Savage notes that he didn’t know Jarrett knew the move, as though it was like the Ganso Bomb where you’d need years of training in a Japanese dojo to really grasp the finer points of the move’s execution. “Okay, so put this arm under the chin, and this one over top of the head. No, no, that’s the leg!” Well, maybe that explains Billy Gunn. He follows with an enzuigiri for two. You know, looking back at Jarrett, I never would have guessed in a lifetime that cutting his hair off might actually help to get him the least bit over as a legit heel threat. Doink comes back with a butterfly suplex for the double KO. Jeff misses a fistdrop and smartly escapes a rollup. You know he’s smart because he follows the great tradition of wrestling heels by pointing to his head, as if to tell us, the unwashed masses, “this is the most vital organ in my body”. That’s where I think The Smartest Man in Wrestling theory for HHH breaks down: You just don’t see him pointing to his head out there, so really CAN he be all that smart? Of course, he spent much of the 90s pointing to his crotch, so infer what you will. Doink of course immediately stresses the irony of Jarrett’s purported intelligence by powerslamming him and then whipping him into one of Lawler’s midget cronies and suplexing him for two. A midget brawl breaks out, and it’s MIDGET MADNESS! Doink goes for the the Whoopie Cushion (sadly lacking in overdubbed fart effect in the financially-strapped 90s), but Lawler makes an appearance, KO’s Doink, and Jarrett is your winner at 10:10. Jokes (and there’s a lot of them to be made) aside, this was Perfectly Acceptable Wrestling and the stupidity of the storyline had it’s own dumb charm. I’m pretty sure features extensive midget coverage from this era in case I haven’t done it proper justice. 4 for 4.

– WWF Tag title match: Shawn Michaels & Diesel v. Razor Ramon & 1-2-3 Kid. Saaaaaay, what do all four guys have in common? This match is actually very famous in net.lore, and with good reason. It was broadcast on the 2nd or 3rd edition of Action Zone, the morning show that eventually morphed into LiveWire once it became another D-level recap show. The original idea behind Action Zone was to let the guys go out and do 15 minute wrestling matches, whereas RAW would be all storyline-intensive and stuff. And they picked a DOOZY of a match to illustrate that point. Big brawl to start, heels collide and the faces clean house. Razor’s Edge for Shawn gets two, Diesel saves. Razor tosses Shawn at Kid, who rolls him up for two. Backdrop and bodypress get two for the Kid. Victory roll gets two. Rana is blocked with a vicious powerbomb, and Diesel comes in to pound the Kid. That was all just the FIRST MINUTE, as they worked at a breathtaking pace and moved faster than I thought any of them could possibly go. Kid tries a sunset flip, but Diesel casually grabs him and just chokeslams him out of his boots. Kid gets a dropkick, and Razor comes in. Slugfest is won by Da Bad Guy, and he pounds Shawn off the apron for good measure. Slam on Diesel for two, but he gets clubbed down. Clipped to Diesel hitting a sideslam for two. Shawn comes in with a flying elbow for two, and he takes a break. Razor backslides out of the chinlock for two, but Shawn dropkicks him for two. Diesel hits Snake Eyes for two. Big elbow to the back, and when Razor rolls over Diesel drops another one on the chest for two. Razor escapes a neck crank, but gets shoulderblocked for two. Clipped to a double-KO. False tag to the Kid, but Shawn superkicks Diesel by mistake, and he plays dead in the corner. Hot tag Kid, and he just UNLOADS on Shawn with spinkicks. Shawn bails but Kid comes barrelling over the top with a plancha and the crowd explodes. He rolls back in and Kid follows with a missile dropkick for two. Shawn walks into a fallaway slam from Razor for two. Backdrop superplex gets two. Kid goes up and they hit a Rocket Launcher on Shawn for two. Shawn desperately tries to revive Diesel to save him, but Razor casually slugs him for two. Shawn grabs a sleeper as Diesel rolls to the floor. Kid breaks it up as Diesel slowly crawls to the apron. Ramon catapults Shawn to the corner and knocks him cold, and tags the Kid back in. He gets a top rope legdrop for two, but Diesel finally gets to his feet, sticks his leg in the air, and takes Kid’s head off for the pin at 13:52 to retain. 15 minutes! This was aired on a Saturday morning TV show, in it’s entirety, remember. Funny how everyone sold like nuts for everyone else there, and a freakin’ awesome match resulted, one which I’d give ****1/4 without hesitation. 5 for 5, obviously.

Bottom Line #1: Surprisingly awesome tape from a bad period. Definitely give this one a look, especially if you’re looking for the famous Clique Tag Match.

Tape #2: Best of Razor Ramon.

– Your hosts are Stan Lane & Gorilla Monsoon.

– Razor Ramon v. Bam Bam Bigelow. From RAW ’94. Bigelow gets a backdrop suplex, but misses a quick headbutt try. Ramon gets a lariat for two, but Bigelow gets one of his own and pounds away. Blind charge misses, but he recovers and dumps Ramon. Back in, they slug it out and Bammer hits the chinlock. He gets a cover for two, and back to the chinlock. That lasts a good long while. Bammer actually tries his own Razor’s Edge, but Razor blocks and suplexes him for two. Ramon comes back and slams him, but Luna gets involved. Bigelow gets an enzuigiri and goes for the Lunasault, but Ramon chokeslams him off the top and rolls him up for the pin at 8:56. 0 for 1. Ramon didn’t seem like he felt like bothering.

– Clips of Ramon co-winning the IC battle royale on RAW, setting up

– Intercontinental title match: Rick Martel v. Razor Ramon. I never particuarly got the logic of bringing a guy like Martel back in and immediately pushing him into a match for a vacant (and still hot) title when he still wasn’t over. Shoving to start, and they trade wristlocks. Martel slaps him around, but gets tossed around in return. He walks into a fallaway slam and bails. Back in, Martel grabs a facelock, but Ramon puts him onto the apron and drags him in. Ramon works the arm. We’re clipped to them brawling outside, which goes Martel’s way. Back in, Martel whips him into the corner a few times and suplexes him for two. He keeps working on the back. High knee to the back sets up the Boston Crab, but Razor makes the ropes. Martel goes right back to the back via a sideslam and gets the Boston Crab again, clean in the middle. Ramon finally powers out and holds Martel down for two, reversed by Martel for two. Martel dropkicks him for two. Ramon comes back and they go up, but Razor goes down and Martel gets a flying bodypress, reversed by Ramon for two. Lariat gets two for Martel, but he puts his head down and guess what follows for Ramon. Razor’s Edge of course finishes at 10:42, giving Ramon his first major title in a really good match. 1 for 2.

– Intercontinental title match: Razor Ramon v. Crush. This is just post-heel turn for Crush, which wasn’t a good period for him workrate wise. However, Johnny Polo (Raven) is doing color commentary and seemingly is in the mood to do everything humanly possible to drive Gorilla Monsoon insane, so all is not lost. Crush wins a test of strength and pushes Ramon around. He pounds away and vaguely works the back, and makes his OOOO SCARY threatening ninja-like martial arts gestures. Dude, you’re from PORTLAND. Didn’t he used to be Kendo the American Ninja in the old PNW promotion or something equally stupid? Polo’s non-stop stream of bad puns are better than watching this match, that’s for damn sure. Backbreaker, but Ramon comes back. Crush cheapshots him and goes up for a kneedrop and gets two. Ramon schoolboys him for the pin at 7:09. That’s the old WWF “Book a match so that neither guy looks bad without actually helping to put either over” school of thought at work again. 1 for 3.

– Intercontinental title match: Razor Ramon v. Adam Bomb. Oh, dear god, it’s the OTHER half of Kronik before he was any good. Bomb attacks to start and chokes Ramon out. Big elbow misses and Ramon slugs away. Ramon dumps him. Bomb pulls him out and punks him out. Back in, flying shoulderblock (the move originally dubbed “The Meltdown”) gets two. Ramon cradles for two. Bomb suplex gets two. Ramon comes back with the Edge out of nowhere for the pin at 3:35. Too short to be actively offensive, but Bryan Clarke pretty much used up all of his Get out of Jail Free cards with me a while ago. 1 for 4.

– Razor talks about the ladder match.

– Razor Ramon v. IRS. From Royal Rumble 94. If you really feel like reading the match review again, my review is archived in the usual places. Suffice it to say, it doesn’t help the quality of the tape any. 1 for 5.

– Razor Ramon v. Jeff Jarrett. This is non-title, and is decisively before Jarrett was any kind of a contender to anything. This is also Ramon’s last match as IC champion before dropping it to Diesel. Waistlock sequence to start, won by JJ. Jarrett works the arm, but walks into a fallaway slam and bails. Back in, they slug it out and Ramon takes over, prompting Jarrett to run again. Ramon chases and gets clocked. Back in, Jarrett gets two. This match is semi-noteworthy for the way Vince makes constant hillbilly jokes about TNN. Fistdrop gets two, and he hits the chinlock. That goes on for a bit. Ramon sunset flip gets two. Jarrett gets a sleeper to waste more time. Ramon comes back and Jarrett begs off as Shawn joins us. Ramon goes after him, Diesel runs in to help Shawn, and it’s a big mess at 9:52. Nothing to see here. 1 for 6.

– Razor Ramon v. Yokozuna. Oo, big finish to the tape. Yoko jumps him and beats him down as Lane questions how much attention Ramon could have been paying if he got jumped by a 600-pound guy. Ramon comes back and Yoko bails. Brawl outside, but Yoko uses the tennis racket to gain the advantage. Back in, Yoko tosses him and keeps knocking him down off the apron. Back in, it’s the VULCAN NERVEHOLD OF DOOM! Hulkbuster legdrop leads to Ramon bailing, and back in for the nerve pinch again. Such effort. I’m enthralled. Yoko misses a big splash, and it’s the double-KO. Ramon comes back, but Yoko cuts him off. He misses the corner splash, and Ramon punches away again. Razor’s Edge attempt (!?!), but Crush runs in before that bit of silliness can go anywhere and it’s a DQ at 9:15. The less said the better. 1 for 7.

The Bottom Line #2: The “1” out of my “1 for 7” is available on a much better tape, “Monday Night RAW Prime Cuts”, and there’s no need to rent this fluff piece to see it. Scott Hall did some good stuff during this period, but none of it is in evidence here. Take a pass.

Next time out: The History of the Intercontinental Title and the History of the Tag Team Titles, a pair of videos released in 1987. Be there for Coliseum Video Rant XVI or be trapezoidal.