The Coliseum Video Rant XVI


The Coliseum Video Rant XVI: Special Victims Unit

“He hoped and prayed that there wasn’t an afterlife. Then he realized there was a contradiction involved here and merely hoped that there wasn’t an afterlife.”

-Douglas Adams

– Life sometimes has a habit of bumming you out at the most inconvenient times, as I learned this morning that Douglas Adams had died at the age of 49, and probably not just for tax purposes, either. For those unaware, Adams is the author of the massively popular “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” trilogy (in five parts) that basically skewered every cliché of sci-fi pulp known to man and is one of the funniest things ever written. He’s influenced countless other humor and sci-fi writers, including one such aspiring young author who read the Guide for the first time at age 13 while browsing through the library, and immediately decided that he wanted to do what Adams did for the rest of his life. Whereas almost every English teacher I had before that stressed about learning the rules of the English language and working within them, Adams put forth a style of writing I had never seen before, where he simply ignored “rules” that didn’t fit with his intended point and simply constructed his sentences around what he wanted to say instead of how he was supposed to say it. I immediately picked up on this, and began writing essays how I felt like instead of how I was supposed to, and suddenly became a much better writer. I’ve always thought I could ultimately consider myself a success if I could something that I, myself, enjoyed reading as much as anything in the Guide series or even Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, and while my standards may be too high in that regards sometimes, I’ll keep going back and reading those books until I’m satisfied that I’ve made it to that level. Goodbye, Douglas, and always make sure you know where your towel is.

– Okay, so at the end of the last review, I lied. Last time I promised the IC title tape and the tag title tape, but when you have a collection as large as mine, finding various shows is no small task. So since I had a couple of other Coliseum shows on the same tape as the IC title one, I figured I’d go with those instead. So for your viewing pleasure, this week’s contenders are “History of the Intercontinental title”, “WWF Greatest Hits” and “WWF Greatest Champions”.

– By the way, a note on the Coliseum Rants: Many people have asked why I haven’t done the Hulkamania tapes. Honestly, it’s not out of intellectual elitism or anything, my video store just doesn’t carry them. If you have all six of them (Hulkamania 1-4, Forever and 6) and want to send me copies, I’d be more than happy to mock the Orangle Goblin for the 9 hours required. Hell, I sat through the XPW tapes – I think I can handle Hogan.

– Tape #1: The History of the Intercontinental title.

– Released in 1987 and hosted by future XFL huckster Craig DeGeorge, the 80s version of Michael Cole.

– Opening match, Intercontinental title: Randy Savage v. Ricky Steamboat. As usual for these history tapes, we start with a then-current title change to establish the title’s importance. It’s JIP (Joined In Progress, for those who’ve asked before) near the end. Steamer drops some chops and and Savage bails. Back in, Steamboat gets a sunset flip for two. Rollup for two. Bridge gets two. Small package gets two. He catapults Savage to the post for two. Rollup gets two, reversed by Savage for two. Savage posts him, and the ref gets bumped. Savage hits the clothesline and the Big Elbow, no ref. Savage grabs the bell, but George Steele fights with him over it, pushes him off the top rope, and Savage is so flustered that he can’t even slam Steamboat properly, as Steamboat reverses to a cradle and gets the pin and the title. Only about 4:00 aired, but it’s 4:00 of Savage v. Steamboat. 1 for 1.

– We jump back to 1979, as Pat Patterson wins a make-believe tournament for the first ever IC championship, of which “no footage exists” according to Craig. How about that.

– Pat Patterson v. Dominic DeNucci. Craig offers to make up for the lack of tournament footage by showing us a clip of this match instead. DeNucci is the guy who gave us Shane Douglas & Mick Foley, so he’s batting .500 on the karma scale by my count. Patterson reverses a monkey flip into a pinning combo and gets the duke. That’s pretty unique. 1 for 2.

– Intercontinental title match: Pat Patterson v. Ken Patera. I know, I know, this match just screams for prison sex jokes, but I’ll leave that to the experts. Patera looks eerily like a blond Dave Meltzer here, by the way. Patera hides in the corner, and comes out to overpower Patterson. Pat gets some armdrags and Patera bails. Patterson works the arm to control, outsmarting Patera at every turn. That lasts for a bit, but Patera tosses him and they brawl. Patera kicks his ass and brings him back in for an uninspired beating. Double backbreaker gets two. Into a bearhug, Pat hangs on. He hammers his way out to a mammoth pop, but Patera preps for the swinging full nelson. Patterson makes the ropes. Back to the bearhug, Patterson uses a really unique looking escape to slither out and mule kick Patera. He begins the comeback and posts Patera’s knee, hammering at it in the ring. Figure-four, Patera makes the ropes. Pat keeps pounding the leg, and Patera gets tripped up on a cross-corner whip as a result and knocks himself out on the ringpost. Pat covers for the pin, but Patera put his foot on the ropes at the last moment and the ref changes his mind. Patterson argues with the ref and berates him, but collides with him dodging Patera. Patera goes to the top and kneedrops Patterson for the pin at 14:43, as the ref chooses to ignore Pat’s foot on the ropes. You reap what you sow. Good match, as Patterson was a hell of a worker, something that’s been lost in the silliness the past few years. 2 for 3.

– Intercontinental title match: Ken Patera v. Pedro Morales. Patera had a reign of about 8 months. We’re JIP as Patera has Pedro in a bearhug, presumably one that’s been going on for a while. Morales does the HAND CLAP OF DOOM to escape, but Patera beats him down for two. Slugfest, won by Morales, and both guys shove the ref around for the no-contest. 2:57 shown. 2 for 4.

– Craig acts as though that match was the title change, and we skip ahead another six months, to June 1981

– Intercontinental title match: Pedro Morales v. Magnificent Muraco. Muraco stalls to start and slugs away, but Pedro shrugs him off. You know, I’ve still never seen a Morales match I’d consider good, and to this day I don’t get the big deal with him. Muraco works a headlock and spikes the throat, then hits the chinlock. That lasts a while. Pedro goes to the eyes to break. Muraco misses a charge and posts himself, and Pedro comes back. Punching abounds. They brawl out and Pedro injures Muraco’s shoulder. Back in, ref bumped. Pedro gets a Boston Crab as the Vince declares the match over, even with the ref unconscious. That’s a pretty effective submission hold. Muraco escapes, loads up the international object of the week, and KO’s Pedro for the title at 8:50. Lots of attempts at psychology, but the finish was brass knuckles to the head, so none of it meant anything. 2 for 5.

– Intercontinental title match: Magnificent Muraco v. Pedro Morales. Muraco is getting fatter before our eyes. They brawl for a bit, Muraco taps an artery, and Pedro hammers on the cut until the ref stops the match. That’s not a title change, by the way. 3:39 shown. 2 for 6.

– Intercontinental title Texas Death match: Magnificent Muraco v. Pedro Morales. Welcome to November 1981. JIP as Muraco is stomping at him. He works the knee and gets a toehold, but Pedro escapes and comes back. They brawl out, and Muraco does the most ridiculously obvious bladejob I’ve seen in quite some time. Jesus, have some pride in your work, Don. Back in, he gets tied in the ropes, but escapes and goes low. Thrilling. He gets two from that, and it’s a double KO. Pedro comes back and barrels into Muraco with a headbutt to the midsection, which dislodges the international object of the week from Muraco’s tights, and Pedro uses it for the pin and the title at 6:18. I just don’t like this matchup. 2 for 7.

– Might wanna grab a snack or something, because Pedro reigned for more than a year the second time around, until we land in January 1983 and Muraco comes around again as a challenger for the title.

– Intercontinental title match: Pedro Morales v. Magnificent Muraco. Morales gets pissed and nails him with the belt, totally dominating Muraco. Muraco begs off into the corner, but Pedro gets a sunset flip on him for two. Muraco bails and stalls for a bit. Muraco gets posted and hides from a potentially airborne Morales by slipping under the ring. Too bad there was no Spanish announce table for the full irony. Back in, Pedro stomps away, and Muraco begs off again. Muraco chokes him, so Pedro goes low. He misses a blind charge and gimps his knee up in the process, and Muraco jumps on it. Figure-four is reversed by Pedro. Muraco tries again, but Pedro shoves him into the post, and comes back. He gives Muraco a backbreaker, but does it on his own bad knee like a moron, which even Gorilla Monsoon points out. Muraco tries a cross-body and Pedro catches him, but the knee gives way before he can slam Muraco, and the Magnificent One gets the pin and regains the title at 11:09. See, THAT’S what I mean by psychology affecting the finish of the match – Morales hurt his knee, Muraco worked on it, and it figured in the finish. Pedro’s knee injury MEANT something, it wasn’t just a way to fill space between spots. That’s the difference between ** and *** a lot of times. 3 for 8.

– Muraco had a pretty impressive run with the title himself, hanging on for more than a year, past the onset of Hulkamania, until the point when Vince started to work all his hot new stars into the product in February 1984. We see some clips of the Muraco-Santana match, which apparently doesn’t have usable footage, but Santana gives us the gist in-studio and explains a finishing move that sounds something like a rana.

– Intercontinental title match: Tito Santana v. Greg Valentine. Clip of the ending of a match from MSG where Santana wins with the Flying Jalapeno, but gets destroyed with a figure-four afterwards.

– Intercontinental title match: Tito Santana v. Greg Valentine. This is September 1984, and it’s a rare TV title change. Santana is limping even as he gets into the ring. The match is clipped all to hell, as Tito gets the Jalapeno, but Greg’s supposedly in the ropes (although no such evidence of that exists from the tape) and the ref restarts the match, leading to Greg clobbering Santana and getting the pin. 3 for 10. Again, the pyschology was RIGHT THERE for them to use, but the finish was a forearm to the back of the head. Would it have killed them to have Valentine maybe kick him in the leg or something to end it?

– Intercontinental title match: Greg Valentine v. Tito Santana. Rematch in the Garden. Big ol’ chinlock from Greg as we’re JIP. Pair of elbows gets two, and Santana alley-oops him into the post from the mat. He makes the comeback, as Greg bleeds. Flying Jalapeno gets two. Atomic drop gets two. Santana pounds the cut and gets two. He works the knee. Suplex puts Greg out, but Santana puts his head down on a whip and gets nailed. They scrap on the mat and Tito cradles him for two, but time expires. Good stuff. 4 for 11.

– Intercontinental title, cage match: Greg Valentine v. Tito Santana. This would be July 1985, as Santana got shunted all the way into the opening match of Wrestlemania and fell out of contention for a while before coming back here. Just some highlights, as they slug away at each other at various points before Santana counters the figure-four and climbs out of the cage to win the title back. 4 for 12. Greg throws a tantrum and destroys the belt, which gave the world the classic design we all knew and loved from 1985-1998.

– Intercontinental title match: Tito Santana v. Randy Savage. Savage destroys Tito on the floor, but Tito fights back on the apron. Flying forearm sends Savage to the floor, but when Tito chases, Savage gives him the beating of a lifetime and beats the count back in. Savage’s violent streak here was great to see. 5 for 13.

– And finally, we travel to February 1986, as the Macho Juggernaut could no longer be stopped by any force known to man or Vince

– Intercontinental title match: Tito Santana v. Randy Savage. Quick clip as Tito works the leg, and Savage escapes a figure-four. He bails to apron, but gets suplexed back in. He bails again, but this time when Santana suplexes him, Savage pulls an international object out of his tights, bops Tito, and gets the title to a HUGE face pop. Personally I would have put him over clean, but I guess heels always had to cheat or something. 5 for 14.

Bottom Line #1: Not much good wrestling, but for historical purposes, it’s hard to beat.

Tape #2: WWF Greatest Hits.

– This is one of those cheapie 30-minute jobs you used to see in Blockbuster Video in the big Ultimate Warrior displayer for $6.98 or some other low price. And there was REASON for that.

– Hosted by Sean Mooney, so you know it’s quality.

– Opening match, Intercontinental title: Kerry Von Erich v. Mr. Perfect. From Superstars in November 1990, like most of this tape. Blind charge from Kerry hits boot. Another one hits post, and guest ring announcer Ted Dibiase, in the midst of creating an Insta-Feudâ„¢ with Von Erich, nails him. Perfect gets a standing dropkick and Kerry bails, allowing more punishment from Dibiase. Back in, Perfect slaps him around, and the ref is bumped. Kerry rams him into the turnbuckle, prompting the most awesomely overblown somersault 450 oversell I’ve ever seen. There’s your point right there. SPINNING DISCUS PUNCH OF ETERNAL DAMNATION, no ref. Dibiase slips in, knocks Kerry silly (sillier) with the belt, Perfectplex, and the belt is home where it belongs. 1 for 1.

– “Grand Slams” feature gives us some assorted highspots. And considering this is 1990 WWF, that’s a very broad definition.

– Marty Jannetty v. Rick Martel. No clue why they picked this one. This is from the Survivor Series buildup special in 1990. Jannetty works the leg and avoids a leapfrog, then goes back to the leg. Hiptoss & spinebuster gets two. He goes back to the knee. That goes on for a while. He goes to a spinning toehold, but gets shoved out and Martel posts him. Back in, Martel drops an elbow and goes up, but gets caught. Jannetty gets an elbow and a kneelift, facejam gets two. Martel dumps him again. He slingshots Jannetty back in and gets the pin? Well, that was going okay until the ending came out of left field. 2 for 2.

– Hulk Hogan & Tugboat v. Greg Valentine & Honky Tonk Man. Now HERE’S your $7 worth. This is from SNME, late 1990. Tugboat bearhugs Honky, but Hammer breaks it up and they work on the Tugster. Yes, Vince McMahon actually calls him that. For those who constantly reference the marketing genius of Vincent K. McMahon, witness the days when he thought that Fred Ottman had potential had a top-tier babyface. By the way, just because smark law says that I have to reference it in some form in every Ottman match: Shockmaster! No context needed, I just want Ole Anderson to be haunted by it until his dying day. Honky gets a double-sledge for two. Valentine drops an elbow, and Honky chokes. Double-elbow misses, hot tag Hogan. He cleans house and Hart runs back to the dressing room to get the most fearsome duo of 1990, Dino Bravo and Earthquake. God, remember when the Canadian representatives used to be THOSE guys? Hogan pounds on Hammer, big boot, but Earthquake and Bravo distract him, allowing Honky to grab the guitar and weakly kabong Tugboat on the back for the DQ. 1 for 3. Big beatdown on Hulk almost saves the point, but Tugboat saves with the guitar, hits three people with it, and it STILL DOESN’T BREAK, thus forcing me to keep this as a 0-point effort.

– “Outrageous Hits!” feature, more highspots. Sadly, the tape ended before we got to the “Gnarly Suplexes” feature.

– WWF title match: Ultimate Warrior v. Ted Dibiase. This is from the second-to-last ever Main Event on NBC, which did numbers roughly on par with the XFL, without all the upside. Clipped to Warrior hulking up and blocking a suplex with one of his own. Criss-cross and double KO follows. Warrior hulks up on the ropes and hits the flying shoulderblock, but Virgil comes in for the DQ. 2 for 4. Randy Savage attacks Warrior and beats the living hell out of him, setting up his involvement at Royal Rumble 1991. Warrior then annoys me in a different way, by slowly rising up with the belt in his hands in an awesomely grandiose manner, and getting a spine-chillingly huge pop from the crowd as a result, thus showing what a total WASTE he ended up being when he wigged out and flushed all his potential down the toilet, along with his excess drug paraphanalia.

Bottom Line #2: Bunch of recycled TV matches. Take a pass.

Tape #3: WWF Greatest Champions.

– Hosted by Lord Alfred Hayes, this is basically celebrating Warrior, Savage, Hennig, Hogan and the Hart Foundation.

– We start with the series of incidents that led up to

– WWF Title match: Hulk Hogan v. Ultimate Warrior. We pick things up during the bearhug, as Hogan fades fast. Ref bumped, Warrior goes up and hits a pair of double-axehandles. Hogan sidesteps the shoulderblock, but no ref to count. Warrior suplexes him, still no ref. Hebner crawls over for two. Hogan rollup gets two. They hit the floor and brawl, and Hogan hits the post. Back in, Warrior clotheslines him and hits the gorilla slam and splash for two. Hulk up, crowd goes nuts. Three punches, big boot, legdrop MISSES. Warrior finishes with the splash to win the title, everyone’s in shock, sun rises next morning. Hogan jobs, so 1 for 1.

– Highlights of WM4 tournament, as Randy Savage blows through Butch Reed, Greg Valentine and One Man Gang to set up his win over Ted Dibiase.

– WWF title match: Randy Savage v. Andre the Giant. We pick it up with Andre using a nervehold. Joy. Savage clotheslines him into the ropes, where Savage chokes him out and won’t let him get loose. Finally he breaks free and pounds Savage, but Macho comes back with some chops (!) and the flying axehandle. Big elbow misses, they brawl outside, double-countout. Nothing special. 1 for 2.

– Onto the Hart Foundation, as we get the famous clip of them beating the Bulldogs in 1987, and then their win over Demolition at Summerslam 90.

– WWF Tag team title match: The Hart Foundation v. Power & Glory. Gee, what a barnburner THIS should be. Herc dominates Bret and slams him. Roma comes off the top and gets nailed, and the Harts take over. Roma hammers Neidhart and dropkicks him out. Herc gets some shots in. Roma chokes him out with the tag rope and Neidhart is YOUR Anvil-in-peril. Chinlock is escaped to no avail. Hot tag Bret, he’s a house of fire. Anvil slingshots in and Bret small packages Roma for the pin. Total vanilla tag match. 1 for 3.

– Quick clips of Mr. Perfect beating Jimmy Snuka, Tito Santana and Kerry Von Erich lead to

– Intercontinental title match: Mr. Perfect v. The British Bulldog. This is from Prime-Time Wrestling (the show that spawned RAW) just before Summerslam 91. We pick it up as Bulldog wins a test of strength and gets a crucifix for two. Perfect sunset flip for two, reversed for two, and Perfect goes low to break. Bulldog introduces him to the turnbuckle, so Perfect again goes with the Great Equalizer, and is 2/2 on that strategy. He punts him a few times and hooks a Boston Crab, using both Coach AND the ropes for leverage. Now THAT’S a heel. Bulldog powers out, but Perfect dropkicks him and Bulldog bails. Bret Hart comes into the picture to even things up. Back in, Perfect necksnap gets two. Sleeper, Bulldog breaks and crotches Perfect. Running lariat bumps the ref. Bulldog rolls him up, no ref, so Bret counts for us. Perfect’s all “Enough of THAT” and decks him, and the real ref wakes up in time to disqualify Bulldog. Good match. 2 for 4.

– Hogan beats Sheik! Hogan beats Savage! Hogan beats Slaughter!

– Desert Storm match: Hulk Hogan v. Sgt. Slaughter. Both guys are dressed like Cpl. Kirschner to reinforce the boot camp rules. Slaughter is a bloody mess as we pick things up and he pounds on Hogan with a chair. REAR CHINLOCK OF ALL-ENCOMPASSING AGONY, but Hogan breaks. Slaughter goes to the top and falls off due to blood loss. He tries it again, but Hogan has recovered and slams him off. Double-KO, and Slaughter takes a boot off as a weapon. Hogan sees it, deftly tosses a fireball at him (which misses, but it’s the thought that counts), KO’s him with the boot, and uses his own camel clutch until Gen. Adnan runs out and throws in the towel. Was that supposed to be a rib on the Backlund-Sheik title change in 1983 or something? Decent brawl. 3 for 5.

Bottom Line #3: Interesting little tape. Not much on there, but what there is, is pretty decent. Not much else to say about it.

The Bottom Bottom Line: Pretty good outing this time around, as nothing sucked overly, but I wouldn’t waste my money on anything other than the IC tape.

Next time: Get your blades ready for action, because we INSIDE THE STEEL CAGE!