The Repo Depot: WWF’s The Ultimate Warrior (1989)

– I simply can’t believe I’m doing this, but I’ll have to grin and bear it. This is the 90 minute Ultimate Warrior Coliseum Video tape…But first, let’s open up the mailbag, first from Lenny:

“You asked for feedback and I shall giveth. This episode of SNME was the first wrestling show I ever saw on television, barely missing the Royal Rumble by a couple of weeks or so, and I was instantly hooked on wrestling and have been ever since. I guess it was because of this show that I never really cared for Hogan, since he was near the end of his run here, and I was really getting into guys like Flair, Bret, and the Undertaker. Works for me.

Well, in addition, I was pretty much a fan of everyone after this show: Piper, Jake, Savage, you name it. Too bad the two formers were on their way out of the company as well, but Savage went onto an awesome 5-month Title reign. After seeing Bret perform against Piper at Wrestlemania 8 (still my personal sentimental favorite and easily in my top 5 Manias) in the following two months, I instantly became a fan of his as well, so I was glad to see him win the title from Flair later that year.

Anyway, I can’t tell you how awesome it is that you recapped this, being my first show ever and all. Hopefully, you have the episode of SNME from later that year in… September or October, I believe it was. I only remember 3 matches on the card: Warrior/Savage vs. Money Inc., Bulldog vs. Michaels when he won his first IC title and Bulldog left the company, and Bret vs. Papa Shango in what was pretty much a squash title match. Keep up the good work, man! :)”

Sadly, I do not own the Oct. 1992 SNME show. I AM however, in the process of almost getting a copy. I’ve been interested in the Shango/Bret match for a pretty long time. I’ve seen bits and pieces of
the Bulldog/Shawn match, and it’s not too bad, just feels like it was rushed, due to Bulldog being on his way out and all.

I can see why you liked Flair and Undertaker after this epsiode. These guys played AWESOME heels, working the crowd to the point that it
seemed like these two had been teaming for a long time. Makes me sad to think that the Undertaker was made into a face so soon.

Here’s another lengthy letter (Once again, in a good way!) from loyal IP’er RobJv1:

“That’s an excellent review of an excellent show, and I like how you reviewed SMNE in terms of the actual value the show played historically and not just on whether or not the wrestling was technical proficient. The Hogan/Flair match was announced two weeks before this show, and this angle changed all that, and basically changed the entire direction the WWF went in afterwards. It is a really good show, where most SMNE’s weren’t really all that angle-active, so good job pointing that out.

The only thing I didn’t like, and to be fair you’re not the first person to do this though I do think it detracts from the historical perspective you put the show in, is to call it a “pathetic” act by the WWF to overdub the crowd response to Hogan’s elimination at the Royal Rumble — not only because it was at the tail end of a different time where in the WWF – the faces needed to seem revered and the heels need to be booed, but more importantly because it was actually a necessary to help get the Hogan/Sid angle over. The overdubs are NOT present in the Coliseum Home Video release of the tape and in fact if you actually watch it, you’ll see that the crowd’s reaction to the elimination is more out of shock then joy; moreso then hindsight has hyped it to be. It is really only after the match is over and Hogan and Sid are jawing that the crowd seems to become more Pro-Sid and Anti-Hogan.

The extremely obvious overdubs were only inserted when the WWF aired the press-conference angle – necessary when they realized Hogan was likely going to lay low after WrestleMania, either due to his movie deal, or the lingering steroid scandal – and thus the Ric Flair VS Hulk Hogan match promised to ticket buyers with Hogan taking the title was not 100% going to happen. I think they were aware of this as far in advance as the Royal Rumble, and thus Sid needed to be quickly turned heel in case Hogan had to be the fall guy for the scandal or exercised his creative control on the title match at WrestleMania — they simply needed another option. Making Sid seem like a hated man for dumping Hogan gave the marks a clear reason to hate him – and the fans cheering Sid would destroy the viability of that option, especially considering it was a NY crowd, which has always been one of the smarkier crowds.

I just think it was actually a very tumultous period in the WWF, with a lot of uncertainly – the Flair VS Savage match was signed as a replacement before they’d even begun to develop the angle on The Superstars of Wrestling. It was a desperate act, but I don’t think it was a pathetic one. Sorry that took so many words to get out, but it’s 3AM haha. I love the review though, I wish the WWF could put this much effort to be creative into just one of the two hours of RAW these days.”

The reason why I thought it was pathetic to dub the boos/cheers, was because it wasn’t that much. It wasn’t like everyone was cheering like
hell after Sid dumped Hogan. There were some cheers, but barely any to notice unless you were listening closely. It’s just that the other
smarks out there and their blind hatred for Hogan make it seem that way.

Also, on this note:

“The Hogan/Flair match was announced two weeks before this show, and this angle changed all that, and basically changed the entire direction the WWF went in afterwards. It is a really good show, where most SMNE’s weren’t really all that angle-active, so good job pointing that out.”

Exactly. I can’t think of any other angle furtherments besides:
1. Oct 1992. When Shawn pinned Bulldog, and it made it look like he
won it the day before Survivor Series
2. Jan. 1990. When Warrior clotheslined Hogan accidently after the
match between Genius and Hennig.

I think the thing was that SNME was either a blow-off show or just a show with some special matches, while Superstars and Challenge kept
feuds going.

Anyway, onto the review:

To be honest, I was never a fan of the Ultimate Warrior. I always thought he was some dumb schmuck that just shook the ropes like and idiot. However, I can’t argure that 1989 was the height in the Ultimate Warrior’s original face run. Not only was he still I-C champion, but he had a very entertaining and great feud in Rick Rude. This tape was released in Spring of 1989, so we won’t be seeing the awesome ***1/4 match they had at Summerslam of 1989, though I’m close to gettting a copy. The Ultimate Warrior would never get a better run.

The WWF and Coliseum Video released 3 Ultimate Warrior videos. One was in 1992, and unless you like Superstars Squash matches and negative stars, it’s for you! Another was released in 1989, and was also 60 minutes. It was from the WWF Collector’s Series: The same series that brought you Hulk Hogan: Real American, Wrestling Superheros, and Tough Guys. This version, is the original, 90 minute one.

Let’s get on with the tape!

-Total Irony as the Warrior is telling people not to smoke, with him crushing (Though sometimes it looks like he’s eating them.) cigarettes. Atleast it’s not one of those “Jake Roberts says no to drugs” ads.

-Whoopee! No Holds Barred Promo! Man, when your best movie involves Zeus, Kurt Fuller, and Stan Hansen making fun of small dick sizes, I think it’s time for you to think about making some better films. However, this is the best of all of the Hulk Hogan movies. That does not say much, though.

-Slim Jim Commercial (!) with a coked up Ultimate Warrior beating up kids and stuff in their garage for being bored, and not eating Slim-Jims. Yeah, that’ll force me to buy them.

Best of the WWF Volume 20 (Sucks)
Demolition (Awesome)
WWF Fan Favorites (Koko vs. The Brooklyn Brawler?!)

-Old, and awesome WWF “What the world is watching” promo, that is almost as good as the original coliseum video opening is shown. I wish the WWE would do cool openings like this now.

-The Ultimate Warrior is our host, and as usual, is a weird-o. Clips of him beating up jobbers follow, set to the tune of his theme song. I may have hated the Warrior, but even I admit I used to pretend to run around and beat up random things when that song came on when I was little.

-Ultimate Warrior vs. Hercules
I always liked Hercules. I never knew why, but I thought he was pretty cool in a “Big John Studd” esque. From a Febuary 1988 epsiode of Wrestling Challenge. Vince McMahon is the only one on commentary, and Mel Philips is your ring announcer. Infamous for 2 things:
1. Everyone claims to have seen it, but never remembers it.
2. For what is to follow.
We get no match, as Hercules and Warrior go into a tug of wat with the chain, and Warrior rips it in half. Hercules looks understandably shocked, and attacks the Warrior. Rene Goulet in wrestling tights, as with other jobbers run in and try to hold Herc off, and they succeed. Herc tries to run away, but the Warrior catches him and chokes him out with his own chain back to the dressing room. No match, so no rating.

-Ultimate Warrior vs. Honky Tonk Man
From Summerslam 88. No need for more explanation. This was THE match that MADE the careers for both of these guys. Positively (Warrior.) and Negatively (Honky.). Honky became a jobber after this, and Warrior became a star.

-Ultimate Warrior vs. Honky Tonk Man
This is the rematch from the January 1989 epsiode of Saturday Night’s Main Event. One of my personal favorite epsiodes, and if you have it, we need to talk. First, Honky is with Gene, and Jimmy Hart claims that Honky will re-capture the I-C championship. Vince and Jesse are on commentary. For some reason, Jesse isn’t as heelish on commentary here. Honky walks to the ring, but Gene is with the Warrior who gives another whacked out interview. Wow, that’s a shock. When Warrior’s music comes on, we get cheesy graphics depicting Honky and the Warrior. I used to love that junk. Warrior chases Honky outside of the ring, and starts the attack. Warrior then press slams him back into the ring. Ventura sounds less like a heel and more like an NFL color commentator here. I like this new version. His whining got old and ridiculous in his last few months there anyway. Warrior connects with a boot, and the crowd is pretty jacked tonight. Jimmy Hart decides to be a bug and jumps on the apron, so we get a double noggin knocker here. Vince hypes the Terry Taylor vs. Tito Santana match were Taylor turns face. Punches and an elbow by the Warrior. He’s just dominating here. 10 punches on the buckle. Ram to the buckle afterwards. Warrior nails a flying tackle, but misses a Stinger Splash/Avalanche, giving Honky a turn to fight. Honky decidesd to use the megaphone, and he starts pounding. Even Hart gets a cheap shot in. Warrior starts no-selling. Warrior with a slam, and he misses an elbow. Honky tries to ram the Warrior’s head into the buckle, buit Warrior reverses it and HE rams Honky’s head ten times. Clothesline, and Warrior tries a spalsh and it misses. Honky with an elbow for two. Honky misses a clothesline, and Warrior nails a shoulderblock for the 3. *1/2. Fun match! I was obviously not expecting this out of these two.

-Ultimate Warrior vs. Greg The Hammer Valentine.
WWF The Main Event of 1989 dark match, since Tony and Lord Alfred are here, and there’s a Main Event banner. Warrior clotheslines Hammer during his theme song, and afterwards. Jimmy Hart tries to be a distraction, and gets chased. Valentine tries to hit him from the outside, but Warrior no-sells and Hart jumps on Warrior’s back in a funny moment. Valentine takes this as an oppurtunity, and nails Warrior with the shinguard. It gets 2. Elbows. Once again, Valentine uses the shinguard to cheat. Warrior reverses and rams Valentine’s head on the buckle ten times. Slam, and then the Warrior misses an elbow. Valentine nails the Warrior with elbows for 2, and follows with a snapmare. Warrior then gets nail by an axe-handle. Face first drive to the mat for Greg, and both being brawling. Warrior then with a clothesline and a shoulderblock. Hart takes the shinguard, tries to hit the Warrior from behind, and…gets caught. Warrior press slams Hart in the Hammer and uses the shinguard to nail the Hammer with a clothesline, and gets the pin to retain the I-C belt. Who ever said Warrior never cheated? *. Mainly for Hart’s antics. Besides that, this wasn’t much.

-Ultimate Warrior vs. Haku.
Looks to be either Late 1988, or early 1989. Uh oh. This won’t be so good. Ron Tronguard and Billy Graham on commentary, so this is one of the arena tapings. Can’t put my finger on it. Staredown starts this match. Sneak attack by Haku before the bell. Warrior catches him with a boot and nails him with a high cross body for a 2 count. Warrior then begins to no-sell stuff, as usual. Warrior connects with a hiptoss, but misses an elbow. Haku tries the same, and ultimately fails. Atomic Drop by the Warrior, but he misses a splash from the buckle, like always. Haku then follows with a choke hold. He decides to ram him into the turnbuckle, but the Warrior blocks it, and connects ten times. Chop and choke fest to begin. Warrior fights back, and connects with a slam. Haku puts his knees up before Warrior can splash him. Kicks and a chokehold once again from Haku. That’s a shock. More fun as he connects with chops to the neck, chokes, and slams him. Haku tries to do a splash, but Warrior puts his knees up. Haku tries to do a suplex, but Warrior DOES THE IMPOSSIBLE, and does A WRESTLING MOVE! Suplex (!!!) by the Warrior, and the splash finishes it. I’m tempted to give an extra 1/4* on the Warrior doing a wrestling move. *1/4. Decent, for MENG and The ULTIMATE WARRIOR of all people. These guys would be throwing on -***+ marathons in the next few years anyway.

-Title vs. Title: Randy Savage (World) vs. The Ultimate Warrior (I-C)
I can already guess the ending. Superstars dark match from early 1989, since Tony and Lord Alfred are back, and Savage is still the World Champ. Savage attacks the Warrior before the bell, but the Warrior fights back with a shoulderblock. Savage decides to take a break and exit the ring, but the Warrior press slams him right back in. The chase is on, and Savage, being the wise one, attacks. Savage goes for a Double axe-handle from the top rope, but is caught by the Warrior, who destroys him. Warrior connects with chops, but misses the splash from the corner, AGAIN!. Every damn match has the same spot in it. Jeez. Savage with a kneelift and that takes Warrior to the outside. Savage connects with an axe-handle from the top turnbuckle. Savage then rams the Warrior’s head onto a table. That cool clothesline from the rope spot is next by Savage. Savage first with a chokehold, and then he hits a sleeper for 2. Once again, Warrior no-sells. Savage connects with a clothesline for a count of 2. Double axe-handle smash for 2. Warrior then with a suplex (Ehh, the fun is gone…), and the Warrior starts dominating. Rick Rude comes out to pose and distract the Warrior, but the Warrior does the smart thing (!!!!!!!) and ignores him. 2 count. Roll-up by Macho for only a count of 2. Warrior back on the attack, and Savage puts his knees up for the splash. That gets a 2 count. Warrior begins to no-sell and shake the ropes again. Punches, and a clothesline by the Warrior, but he becomes a moron and starts chasing Rude, giving Savage the SUPER LAME count-out victory. Man, just how low can you go? Post match sees Savage and Rude celebrate, so the Warrior comes back, and Press slams Rude. Wrestlemania 7 this ain’t. Match of the tape honors with only **. And that’s being a bit generous. This match really is doldrums Warrior vs. Savage stuff. This barely beats out the 1/91 MSG Cage Match.

– It’s time for the Super Posedown from Royal Rumble 1989. Wow. This went on WAY too long, eating up about 30 minutes of the tape. How about showing another title defense? Rude decides to attack after the final pose. Gee, wouldn’t it of had made sense to attack him during the first time, and then save some time? If it weren’t for this shit, we’d see the totally underrated Harley Race vs. King Haku match. Rude leaves, and a lot of officials come up to help the Warrior, who is still blinded, and attacks them all. I would’ve made this a match, with the Warrior going over here, and then have Rude win at Wrestlemania 5. THEN I’d let the Warrior re-gain the title at Summerslam. Some things in life are strange that way.

-Clip from Wrestlemania 5, as Rude does probably the biggest upset of 1989 WWF, as Rude wins the I-C title in a VERY VERY underrated match.

-Clips from the first rematch which was at the Boston Garden. Warrior won by count-out, by the way, though the ending isn’t shown. I don’t understand this, why show clips from such a dull section of the match.

-Clips from the second rematch from The Meadowlands. Warrior won again, by count-out. Once again, the finish isn’t shown. And it’s a LAME protion of the match, too. All he does is slam him on the buckle and stall. Wow.

*The results of the two shows above thanks to*

-Warrior gives a whacked out promo to end the tape, vowing revenge.