The SmarK Rant for Wrestling Gold Volume 4: No More Mr. Nice Guys!
– Randy Savage v. Rick Rude. From Memphis, as we near the end of Savage’s run there before he jumped ship to the WWF. Rude runs to start as Savage goes nuts waiting for him. Stalling follows, lots of it. First lockup is 3 minutes in, as they do a test of strength over a top wristlock and Savage grabs the airplane spin right away. Rude falls out of the ring as Dave & Jim cover Savage’s history with Elizabeth. More stalling. Back in, Rude tosses him and introduces him to the post. Rude overpowers him back in the ring and gets a hotshot. Suplex and Rude kinda works the knee, and gets a clothesline. Savage comes back with punching and 10 shots to the turnbuckle. Rude gets tossed and Savage follows with the axehandle as Dave pinponts that as the exact reason why his knees are more worn out than Vince Russo’s booking. Back in, Savage gets a flying bodypress (!), but the ref is off working on his needlepoint or buying nachos or something. King Kong Bundy waddles in, nails Savage with an international object, and Rude steals one at 9:26. I smell a tag match later on. Slow start, but Rude was hanging with Savage after a while. *1/2
– Andre the Giant v. The Sheik. From 1974, which is significantly less than 20 years before 1987. Andre pounds him down, and Sheik is already busted open. HUGE headbutt, but the Sheik throws fire and Andre is unable to continue at 2:43. So for anyone who continues to think that Andre really was undefeated for 20 years before Wrestlemania III, there’s your documented proof that the WWF was full of shit. Not that it wasn’t common knowledge or anything, but there seemed to be a contingent of people who thought that there was no evidence of Andre ever losing before Hogan beat him. DUD
– Pampero Firpo v. Jeff Doney. Looks like late 70s. Firpo was just recently on the “Wrestling with the PastÃ¢â‚¬Â specials on the Canadian Comedy Network. He kills the poor jobber with a clawhold at 1:36. DUD
– Bruiser Brody & Scott Casey v. Kelly Kiniski & The Spoiler. The Spoiler here is Don Jardine, the guy who trained Mark Callaway (aka The Undertaker). Kelly Kiniski is the son of ex-NWA legend Gene Kiniski, and in fact my dad knew them when they lived in the same section of Vancouver. Kelly looks uncannily like Kevin Wacholz, the guy better known as Nailz in the WWF. Dave makes a rare boo-boo when discussing the Kiniski family, saying that Nick’s partner Kevin Kelly in the AWA went on to become Nailz. In fact, they’re different guys and I’m kinda surprised Dave would make that mistake, especially since the AWA Kevin Kelly looked like Steve Austin when he was Stunning and Nailz looks like, well, Nailz. Anyway, Brody & Casey work the legs of both guys as Dave relates the story of Mark Callaway’s first big break in the sport Ã¢â‚¬â€œ playing Bruiser Brody’s alter-ego Red River Jack in one match for WCCW when they needed to do a gimmick tag match where Brody teamed with “JackÃ¢â‚¬Â to prove they weren’t the same person. Casey stretches Spoiler until Kelly comes in, and gets his leg worked as well. Yawn. Brody KILLS the poor guy, but Kelly kneelifts Casey and tags Spoiler. Spoiler gets the dreaded Texas staple, the clawhold, but Brody comes back and continues his ass-kicking on Kiniski right where he left off. Big kneedrop finishes at 6:46. This was pretty much a TV squash. Ã‚Â½*
– Rick Rude & King Kong Bundy v. Randy Savage & Jerry Lawler. Talk about your odd couples. Cornette points out the differences between the training regimens here, noting that Lawler “loves his Big MacsÃ¢â‚¬Â. No wonder they got along so well. This is probably the only time Savage & Lawler ever teamed up. They double-team Rude and he backs off. Lawler & Bundy go, and again the babyfaces team up to frustrate him. Heel miscommunication allows Savage to cheapshot Rude on the outside. Bundy hammers Lawler, but misses the avalanche. Everyone regroups. Savage chases Rude and the faces double-team him and dump him. Savage drops the axehandle and Rude heads back in for sanctuary. Rude can’t get anything going, as Lawler gets caught in the corner, but makes his own comeback and fights both heels off. Savage comes in with the airplane spin on Rude and the faces pick him off at will. Rude staggers over to get Bundy back in, and we have a staredown. Slugfest is won by Savage and he gets a bodypress for two. This would also be the first time Savage had ever heard cheers, and he’s just eating it up with a spoon. Lawler comes in and gets caught in enemy territory and Bundy kneedrops him for two. Rude gets his neckbreaker and mouths off at Savage. Yeah, THAT’S a smart move, pick a fight with a psycho. Rude gets a piledriver on Lawler, but he comes back to dive for the tag and lands in Rude’s arms. Whoops. Bundy slams Lawler for two. Kneedrop gets two. Savage goes INSANE and blitzes Rude, as Lawler hulks up and kicks Bundy’s ass. Hot tag Savage, but Rude nails the ref and the whole thing is a big hullabaloo at 15:56. Damn, that match would have KILLED with a finish. Great use of the contrasting styles, the psychology of Lawler selling and Savage acting like a maniac, Rude actually doing something for once it just all clicked. ***1/2
– Chief Jay Strongbow v. Don Kent. This would be a shark cage match, an idea so stupid that Cornette’s only explanation is that Vince Russo must be some sort of time-travelling immortal who has been around since the Lincoln assassination booking wrestling. Dave is loathe to actually discuss the match on the DVD, because someone from the WWF might watch it and actually TRY IT on RAW. Okay, so the brilliant concept here: Both guys are enclosed in a cage. But the cage isn’t your normal wrestling around-the-ring cage, it’s one of those little 3×3 cages that shark-hunters get lowered into the water in. Yes, that’s right Ã¢â‚¬â€œ you’ve got two guys jammed into a cage no bigger than a phone booth, trying to work a match. The object is to get out. The object for the fans should have been to get out of the arena. They stand around hitting each other for a few minutes until Mark Lewin makes the merciful run-in, chokes out Kent, and Strongbow escapes at 7:31. Ugh. -***
– Randy Savage v. Austin Idol. Savage attacks and MURDERS Idol. Axehandle off the top, and back in for another one. Back out Idol goes, and Savage continues the ungodly beating. He tosses Idol in and slams him for two. Elbowdrop gets two. Savage slugs him down and gets two. Slam gets two. Idol gets a desperation rollup for two, but Angelo nails him with a crutch and Savage hits the top rope necksnap and axehandles him again for two. They collide and both are out, but Savage pops up and fires away. Idol comes back with some huge punches and the Enemy Pummel. Savage gets flipped into the opposite corner. Atomic drop by Idol blocked, atomic drop by Savage blocked and Idol goes him one better by grabbing Savage’s leg and applying an ugly figure-four and Savage QUITS at 7:07. Holy shit, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him submit before. Black out to Ric Flair, yeah, but say uncle? Idol has about as much talent as Hulk Hogan, so Savage worked well with him. ***1/4
– Terrible Ted the Wrestling Bear v. Gene DuBois. That’s not just a gimmick, it’s really a bear who has been trained to “wrestleÃ¢â‚¬Â. DuBois is said trainer, and he basically wrestles himself, taking bumps for the bear as the poor ref gets harrassed by the bear. Dave & Jim tell famous wrestling bear anecdotes to amuse themselves. The bear pins the ref at 3:46. Cornette thinks that the bear could be World champion, since he has more hair than Hulk Hogan, and what he has is less grey than Kevin Nash. It’s a friggin’ wrestling bear match, you expect a rating?
– Tommy Rich v. Rick Rude. I guess it’s the Rude show today. JIP as Rude works a headlock. Rich atomic drops him out and Rude regroups. Back in, Rich grabs a full-nelson, but Rude goes low to counter. Atomic drop gets two. Rude pounds away, but Rich tries a comeback. Rude goes up and completely f*cks up, slipping in obvious fashion. Rich ignores it like a pro and makes his comeback with a sleeper. They collide, bye bye ref. Jerry Lawler comes in, knocks Rude out with a chain, and Rich gets the pin at 5:56 to avenge that loss to Rude that Lawler took in an earlier match. Ã‚Â½*
– Jerry Lawler v. Nick Bockwinkel. This was one of Bockwinkel’s semi-frequent trips to Memphis to defend the AWA title against Lawler, with Lawler somehow keeping the fans convinced that THIS TIME he could pull it off. They work the mat to start, and Bockwinkel works the arm. They fight over a wristlock for quite a long time, and we’re clipped a bit to Bockwinkel cheapshotting him to take over. Snapmare gets two. Knee to the gut gets two. Lawler gets a crossbody for two and gets dumped on the kickout. Back in, Bockwinkel getst wo. He slugs Lawler down, but Lawler has had ENOUGH. He tosses him backwards into the corner a few times in vicious fashion. Ref gets bumped by Bockwinkel, and he comes off the top onto Lawler as the ref recovers. It gets two. Lawler beats him up outside, and back in Bockwinkel goes to the eyes and rakes Lawler facefirst on the ropes. Lawler gets all riled up again and starts fussin’ and snortin’, and KILLS Bockwinkel with rights. The ref gets bumped AGAIN as Lawler just pounds Bockwinkel into putty and goes for the pin, but the ref revives and calls for the DQ at 12:14. Lawler steals the belt anyway. Great match. ****
– Randy Savage v. Austin Idol. Rematch from earlier in the DVD. Savage runs to start, but outsmarts Idol and attacks him. Slam and Savage goes up for the flying elbow, for two. Savage slugs away and tosses him, but Idol counters the axehandle (nice psychology there) this time and pounds on Savage on the floor. Back in, Ausitn stomps him down and tosses him in dramatic fashion. They brawl on the floor and Savage clocks him with the title belt, drawing rare blood from Idol. Back in, it gets two. Elbowdrop gets two. Kneedrop gets two. Slams and elbow combos get two. Idol is taking a hellacious pounding, and he gets a small package for two. Savage comes off the top for two. Idol keeps grabbing the ropes in desperation. Savage chokes him down for two. Rights continue, but Idol starts no-selling and Savage decides to run down and fight another day. Idol catches him and fires away. He goes to the middle with an elbow, but picks up Savage at two. That’s never a good move for the babyface. He misses an elbow, but Savage misses a kneedrop and sells a knee injury. Aha, Idol sees his opening and starts working the knee, but when he goes for the figure-four Angelo Poffo tosses in the family brass knuckles, handed down from generation to generation of Poffos all the way from Europe and forged by a Hungarian madman in 1243 to assist in a revolt against barbarian attacks, and Savage uses them to KO Idol and get the pin at 11:39. Okay, I made up that bit about the Hungarian to add color, but the match was good. ***1/2
– Bobby Heenan v. “CowboyÃ¢â‚¬Â Bob Ellis. Heenan appears to have a dehabilitating knee injury, but Dave is dubious. Bobby asks for a small postponement of the match (only four or five months!) but the ref is having none of it. Jim is forced to side with his managerial brethren here, pointing out the rigors of managing in the modern era and that he can’t think of ANY occasions where managers would have reason to lie about such a crippling injury. He of course miraculously recovers and manages to attack Ellis, who fights off him AND the Blackjacks and chases Heenan over the top rope. That’s quite a bump for a guy walking on crutches. Heenan argues legality with the commentator at ringside and gets counted out at 1:07. Worth watching if only for Heenan’s temper tantrums. DUD
The Bottom Line: I’d call this one the best of the series, with some killer matches, interesting comedy in the form of Bobby Heenan and the wrestling bear, and tons of Memphis to keep me happy.
What could have made it better? Why, Bobby Heenan VS. the Wrestling Bear, of course!
Check Ã¢â‚¬Ëœem out at www.wrestlinggold.com or Amazon.
Next up: Volume 5 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Beat Me If You Can!