The SmarK Rant for Wrestling Gold Volume 5: Beat Me If You Can!
– Welcome to the end of my marathon typing session before I go on vacation for a week and a bit, as we’re at the end of the line for Wrestling Gold collection.
– Nick Bockwinkel v. Terry Allen. This is VERY early in Allen’s career. He of course would go onto much greater fame as Magnum TA. They do some mat stuff to establish parity. Bockwinkel works the arm, and Allen counters with a headlock. Cornette relates the car crash story, and I realize how close we came to elminating Dusty Rhodes from the wrestling world. Bockwinkel pounds him in the corner, but Allen fires back with a hiptoss and dropkick. Blind charge misses and Bockwinkel slams him and finishes with a piledriver at 6;22. Routine match for Nick. *
– Ivan Putski v. Eddie Mansfield. Mansfield attacks to start and chokes him down, but not out. Putski smacks him and Mansfield bails. Mansfield, for those who don’t know, made his name on the famous episode of 20/20 where he exposed the business due to a perceived bias against him by wrestling promoters. Which translates to “I didn’t get a push, so I’m gonna rat everyone out, wah wahÃ¢â‚¬Â. I’m kinda shocked Buff Bagwell hasn’t tried that by now. Mansfield gets some jobber offense, but Putski goes nuts and as Cornette rants about Mansfield. A DQ is finally called at 4:43, giving Mansfield the cheap win. DUD
– Tito Santana v. Kelly Kiniski. From San Antonio near the beginning of Tito’s career. Tito works the arm to start, and that goes on for a while. Dropkick and back to the arm, but Kelly goes low and gets an elbowdrop. Tito legsweeps him and rings his ears for two. Back to the arm. Kneelift and flying double-chop get two. Crossbody gets the pin at 4:48. Squash city. Ã‚Â½*
– The Sheik v. Tom Jones. Tom is a black power wrestler, not the lounge singer. Although I’m sure he’d be equally flattered if any of the women in the audience threw their underwear at him. Of course, it’s Toronto, so perhaps not. Sheik gets pounded, but goes low, works the arm, and gets a submission with a hammerlock at 1:42. Well, that was rather brisk. DUD Whipper Billy Watson charges in and brawls with the Sheik all the way back to the dressing room.
– Bobo Brazil v. Michael Angelo. The parade o’ squash continues, as Bobo finishes with the Koko Butt at 3:43. Ã‚Â½*
– Wahoo McDaniel v. Tully Blanchard. They slug it out and that goes badly for Tully. Wahoo hipblocks him and pounds him in the corner, and we hit the chinlock. Abdominal stretch into a suplex gets two. Tully begs off and then cheapshots him to take over. They slug it out and Wahoo just KILLS Tully in the corner with chops, but Tully cheats again and drops an elbow for two. More chops from Wahoo lead to a double-arm suplex for two. Tully bails to regroup, and they brawl outside for a double-countout at 6:07. Standard TV fare. **
– Eddie Gilbert v. Jerry Lawler. From the WMC studios early in Eddie’s career. They exchange slams, and Eddie bails. He keeps jawing with the fans, then comes in to nail Lawler in the corner. They criss-cross and Lawler threatens a punch, so Eddie bails again. Once again, he points to his head to indicate intelligence. Another criss-cross and this time Lawler outsmarts him and gets that punch. Glibert spazzes and beats him down, but Lawler pulls down the strap, beating on Gilbert until Rick Rude comes in for the DQ at 6:43. Eh. Ã‚Â½*
– The Sheik v. Tiger Jeet Singh. As if we didn’t get enough with the first match, this is a MUD match from Toronto. See, there’s this whole silly backstory about mud matches in India, and therefore it should theoretically be Singh’s home turf and to his advantage. Tiger chokes him down and Sheik can’t even get traction for his punches. Tiger gets the cobra claw, and rubs Sheik’s face in the mud. He stops to try and sell Eddie Creachman some real estate, but Creachman threatens to call the cops and that freaks him out enough that Sheik can attack. Tiger comes back and knocks Sheik out of the ring. He grabs a chair while he’s out there, but Tiger gets it and beats him down for two. More face-rubbing excitement, but Sheik somehow counters to a pin at 7:24. MUD er DUD
– Austin Idol v. Massao Ito. At WMC again. Ito beats on him and some martial arts stuff to establish that yes, he is Japanese. I would be remiss in not mentioning that his manager is the BEEKEEPER, and indeed as you might expect it’s a guy dressed in a beekeeper’s outfit. One would also assume that he might carry around a container of bees to unleash on the babyfaces at an opportune time, or maybe some honey spiked with deadly chemicals to throw in their eyes, but no, all he has is a net. I mean, Ito isn’t even bee-related. This was obviously a bad time for Jerry Jarrett. Idol comes back and tries the figure-four, but the Evil Beekeeper prevents it. He KO’s Idol with his net, and Idol is down and out for the count on the outside at 2:38. Yeah. Ã‚Â½*
– Tully Blanchard & Gino Hernandez v. Terry Allen & Scott Casey. Casey & Gino start, and Casey works a headlock. The faces double-team Tully. Terry keeps armdragging the heels, but he gets caught in the heel corner. Casey comes in and takes care of business, and Tully gets pinballed by the faces. Pier-six and the heels collide. Tully goes to Casey’s eyes and the heels dominate things. Hot tag Allen, who bearhugs Tully. Amazingly, less than two years later these two would do a ***** match at Starrcade 85. Casey comes in with a sleeper, and Allen goes back to the bearhug, but gets clocked from behind by Gino and he drops the Shitty Elbow for the pin at 5:41. More standard JTTS fare. *1/2
– Terry Taylor v. Sabu. From Memphis in the early 80s. Sabu is NOT the same guy Ã¢â‚¬â€œ it’s the one better known as Koko Samoa. He’s more like Tazz. Taylor works the arm but Sabu chops out. Sabu does some cheating to take over. Sabu stomps away and gets an elbow, but Taylor fights back. Sabu chokes him down, and hits the chinlock. This ain’t exactly Pillman-Liger here in terms of excitement. Sabu misses a legdrop, and Taylor gets a backbreaker for two. Small package gets two. Sabu kicks and punches to come back, and tosses Taylor. Sabu keeps knocking him of the apron. Sunset flip back in gets two. Taylor comes back and fires up the crowd, but gets tossed over the top at 10:07. Bit longish for that finish. **
– Ted Oates & The Grapplers v. Wahoo McDaniel, Marty Jannetty & Tommy Rogers. Jannetty starts with Oates (his trainer), and sends him running with a dropkick. Jannetty lures Grappler #1 to the face corner, where Rogers (who became Tommy Lane of the Rock N Roll RPMs, not Tommy Rogers of the Fantastics) works the arm. Grappler cheapshots Rogers, but the faces keep working the arm. Grappler powerslams Rogers and the Grapplers double-team. He’s YOUR face-in-peril. Grappler suplex gets two. Oates gets an elbow for two. Grappler misses a dropkick, but Rogers gets nailed for two. Grappler #2 hits the facelock, but Rogers fights free, hot tag Marty. Pier-nine and Grappler #2 is left alone with Marty. Grappler misses a clothesline and Jannetty finishes with the Thesz Press at 10:03. Good solid pre-Rocker tag action there. ***1/4
The Bottom Line: Pretty much the worst of the lot, with a bunch of squashes and slow-paced non-action. The last tag match is really good, though.
Overall, I think my biggest complaints about this otherwise-excellent series are:
1) The match selection seems WAY too arbitrary. They seem to pick random matches from Memphis in 84 with no reason Ã¢â‚¬â€œ I mean, Tommy Rich v. Massao Ito? Austin Idol v. Ito from WMC TV? Why bother? Matches ending in DQs are thrown on there with no rematch shown to justify the first one. And generally speaking more historic matches from the same period are completely ignored. Why use a generic Von Erich match when you can use Kerry beating Ric Flair, for instance? Why not throw some Freebird-Von Erich stuff from Texas on there?
2) Too much focus on certain guys like the Sheik and Tully Blanchard and virtually none on bigger stars from around the same time. I mean, how many Rick Rude matches from Memphis do we NEED?
3) No order to the matches. Why not do a whole tape of Memphis, or a whole tape of SCW? Instead we get a weird helter-skelter mixture of squashes from a variety of territories with no dates or places given unless Cornette & Meltzer happened to know them.
But that’s mostly nitpicking Ã¢â‚¬â€œ for the price paid this is an awesome collection of old-school stuff that will wet the whistle of any fan who was around before 1996 and actually remembers when Randy Savage was good. Call this set an absolute must-have for a variety of reasons.
Check it out at www.wrestlinggold.com, or Amazon.
Until they release Volume 6 (and hopefully send me a copy) I’m outta here.