The Coliseum Video Rant XXVIII – Rasslin’ Rampage!
I’m getting perilously close to the Coliseum Video Rant XXX here, and all I’ve got left unreviewed is Paul Bearer’s Hits from the Crypt and Mega Matches 95, so it’ll probably be a while before we see that one.
Anyway, this time around it’s a double-shot of similarly-titled videos, Rampage 91 and the imaginatively titled Rampage 92.
WWF Rampage 91!
– Hosted by Sean Mooney, on a golf course with Bobby Heenan and Mean Gene. Funny line from Gene as he tells Sean that Heenan is his handicap.
– Intercontinental title match: Mr. Perfect v. British Bulldog. Perfect is managed by Coach Tolos at this point, putting this halfway into 1991 and just before his loss to Bret Hart at Summerslam. It also means that both wrestlers and the manager are no longer with us. It always bums me out when that crops up on a video less than 20 years old. Perfect bumps like a pinball to show how powerful Bulldog is. We hammer that point home as Bulldog wants a test of strength, but Perfect claims a shoulder injury and begs off. However, the inevitable claims of chickenhood from Bulldog cause Perfect to give it a go, and soon he’s screaming in pain on the mat. Man, they never learn. Bulldog gets a crucifix for two, but Perfect gets a sunset flip for two which sets up a rather sad little pinfall reversal sequence that goes nowhere. The grossly roided look of both guys here is pretty unpleasant to look at considering how their lives ended up. In particular Bulldog looks slow and bloated, especially compared to his later great matches with Bret Hart in the 90s. Perfect slugs him down and gets a Boston Crab, but Bulldog can barely bend enough to sell the move, and Perfect breaks. He follows with the standing dropkick, always a highlight, but Bret Hart makes a somewhat surprising appearance to chase off Coach Tolos and prevent interference. Back into the ring, Perfect gets the rolling necksnap for two. He follows with the sleeper in typically melodramatic fashion, but Bulldog of course powers out. Bulldog comes back and military presses him onto the top rope for some blatant crotch-attacking action, and the ref is bumped. Bulldog of course gets the winning pinfall while the ref is out, so Bret Hart counts the pin himself. Well, that’s just silly. Perfect decides to attack Bret and the ref wakes up and it’s a DQ win for Perfect at 9:41. Oh man, Hebner screwed Bret! This was all completely paint-by-numbers and stuff, but both guys are pros. 1 for 1.
– Kerry Von Erich v. The Warlord. Another dead wrestler alert. And although Warlord is still alive, I’ll remember him less for his in-ring career than for a story about how he got run over by a pizza truck years after his retirement and tried to sue for loss of income. We get the dramatic posedown to start and yes, Warlord wants the test of strength. DON’T TRUST HIM, TORNADO! By the way, as if the matchup itself wasn’t the definition of eye-rolling stupidity, Jim freakin’ Neidhart is on color commentary. Kerry fires off a discus punch, but Warlord won’t go down and comes back with a bearhug. Heenan firing off smartass comebacks to all of Neidhart’s barbs is the most entertaining thing by a longshot here. With his dreaded bearhug having failed, to the shock of me especially, Warlord opts to batter Kerry out of the ring and pose some more. Oooh, airtight plan there, Einstein. The action goes to the floor in HARDCORE manner, as Warlord rams him into the post and poses some more. Am I playing No Mercy here or something? Kerry then manages to one-up Warlord by doing the worst sunset flip in recorded history on his way back into the ring, and it’s so bad that Warlord won’t even sell it. Consider that — Von Erich botched a move so badly that even WARLORD was offended on a professional level. Kerry tries a slam and Warlord’s moustache adds too much weight, resulting in him falling on top for two. Warlord tries to finish things with a big splash that gets all of 6 inches of airtime, but misses. Kerry comes back with the discus punch, knocking him out cold using the same laws of physics that dictate Popeye’s punches hurt more when he winds up his arm, but it only gets two. Gotta protect Warlord. You just GOTTA. They brawl outside for the double-countout at 9:22. If the rematch isn’t on this tape, I’m gonna be pissed. I’d subtract a point if I could, but then future Kevin Nash matches might skew these things into the negatives, so let’s just move on. 1 for 2.
– Paul Roma v. Animal. This appears to be the from same MSG show as the previous match, which makes it a show I wouldn’t want to be at. Roma tries slugging away to start, but leapfrogs into an atomic drop and headbutt to the groin. Animal tries the pummel in the corner, but Roma dumps him to the floor in a surprisingly good bump by Animal’s standards. Hercules adds a cheapshot and Roma takes over back in the ring. Roma gets his one good move — the dropkick — and adds a backbreaker. A chop from the top rope fails to put Animal down, however, as he arbitrarily starts fighting back and gets a backdrop suplex. Roma hits him with a piledriver for two, and Animal makes the comeback. Hey, that’s Hawk’s gig! They do a bunch of irish whip reversals and the ref is toast, at which point you’d think Hercules would run in and go to work. But no, he waits until the ref is up again, like a moron, and the double-teaming backfires, allowing Animal to powerslam Roma for the pin at 4:57. Singles matches are not Animal’s thing, to say the least. 1 for 3.
– Mean Gene tries to teach Bobby Heenan some golf tips. The usual groaners follow.
– The Rockers & Big Bossman v. The Nasty Boys & The Mountie. The Rockers were peaking as a team at this point, despite being ready to break up, so this should be good. Mountie starts for the heels, so Shawn Michaels casually tags out to Bossman in a funny spot. So Mountie runs away and Bossman has to settle for pounding on Sags to start. Powerslam follows, but a big splash hits knee and now Mountie comes in. However, Bossman was playing the proverbial possum and and a six-man donnybrook quickly follows as the heels run away. Back in Knobbs catches a kick from Bossman, but eats an enzuigiri. Jannetty comes in and cleans house on the heels, and a rollup on Knobbs gets two. Shawn tags in with the superkick and follows with a clothesline, and Bossman comes in for the headlock before falling victim to the cheapshot from the apron. Bossman gets pinballed between Sags and the Mountie, as they work him over. Knobbs drops an elbow for two. Mountie, however, stops to let us know that he is, indeed, the Mountie, and Bossman slugs him down and makes the hot tag to Michaels. Knobbs eats another superkick and it’s another donnybrook, with a three-way collision from the heels. Knobbs calls for the helmet, but Shawn neatly intercepts it and KO’s him. Mountie adds a shot from the shock stick, but Jannetty gets his partner out of there and switches in for the winning pin at 10:08. Finish was a bit of a mess, but it was all in good fun. 2 for 4.
– Ricky Steamboat v. Smash. Last hurrah for both guys, as Steamboat was doing the stupid fire-breathing gimmick before bailing for WCW in the fall, while Smash would get repackaged a million times, starting with his new character as the Repo Man around the same time as Steamboat left. Smash starts working on the arm to start, but Steamer reverses and does the same. Smash charges and gets dumped, and Steamboat goes back to the arm again when he’s back in. Then an embarassing moment as a fan, as live camera angles show Steamboat throwing “chops” that literally stop 6 inches short of Smash’s head. Smash comes back with an atomic drop and drops him on the top rope, then takes him down with a choke. He came really close to inventing the chokeslam there. And we hit the chinlock. Backbreaker and Smash goes back to the chinlock again. Dragon fights up, so Smash grabs a sleeper. Oh lord. Dragon fights out again and they brawl outside, so Smash suplexes him back in for two. This thing just keeps going. Smash misses a blind charge and Steamboat finally comes back, finishing with the high cross at 10:13. No wonder he left. 2 for 5.
– Jake Roberts v. The Barbarian. I guess they gave Warlord 10 minutes to sap the life out of this tape, so Barbarian demanded equal time. Jake works over the arm to start and tries the DDT quickly, but Barbarian bails out and gets advice from Bobby Heenan. Apparently, running away is the key. That’s why he’s the Brain. Jake tries the DDT again, but this time Barbarian counters out and whips him into the corner. I guess that passes for the turning point in this match, as Barbarian slowly hammers away on him. Blind charge hits knee, however, and then Barbarian blocks the short clothesline with a nice high kick. It gets a quarter point just for that. DDT knocks him senseless, but Earthquake runs in and draws Jake out for the countout at 7:19. Zzzzzzz. 2 for 6.
– Haku v. Greg Valentine. This is a COLISEUM EXCLUSIVE, and for good reason — no one else wanted to see it. This is Valentine’s inexplicable face run after Wrestlemania VII. They fight over a headlock to start and Valentine gets an atomic drop and elbows him out of the ring. Back in they trade some chops and Valentine goes down, allowing Haku to take over with a backbreaker. That gets two. Roddy Piper actually does some analysis that makes sense, explaining the advantages to wrestling barefoot to an incredulous Vince. We hit the chinlock in the meantime. Greg powers out and runs into a superkick from Haku, and he’s back down again. Back to the chinlock again. Hammer is back up, so Haku goes to the back again and follows with a backdrop suplex for two. Valentine comes back and rams Haku into the turnbuckles, which poses an interesting question as to whether or not a babyface comeback can overcome a samoan head. In this case, it does. They get into an exchange of chops, however, and Haku goes down again and Greg headbutts him low to set up the figure-four. Haku blocks that with a poke to the eyes, but Valentine drops the Hammer and tries it again. This time a kick to the corner breaks it up, but Valentine keeps coming with a sunset flip that finishes things at 8:41. Wow, didn’t see that coming. Both guys were game, so I’ll be lenient. 3 for 7.
– Power & Glory v. The Orient Express. Well this is a matchup you didn’t see every day, to say the least. This was the superior Kato/Tanaka version of the Express, although both teams were heels so I can’t see this not dying a horrible death. Hercules starts with Kato (Paul Diamond under a mask) and shows off his power, but misses an elbow, allowing the Orients to work him over in the corner. Tanaka stalls too long and gets press-slammed for his troubles, and that gets two. The Express look to be the babyfaces tonight. Roma comes in and slugs away on Tanaka, but eats a superkick, so he comes back with a clothesline that Tanaka sells in Jannetty-like fashion. Roma heads up with a flying elbow for two, but Kato breaks it up. Kato comes back in with a flying elbow and he drops another one for two. Chinlock time as they seem to be having trouble settling into a heel-face groove…until Mr Fuji trips up Roma and the double-teaming begins. OK, we definitely have our babyface side now. The Express uses the double-team chops on Roma in the corner and hit what would come to be known as the Broken Arrow in recent years, for two. Roma leaps over a double-clothesline in a weird spot and makes the hot tag to Herc, although the crowd isn’t really into it. Roma gets his dropkick for two, but Kato comes back with a sunset flip on Hercules for two. And now Slick evens up the interference, pulling down the top rope to draw Fuji’s wrath, and soon enough it’s a double-countout at 8:28. This just never got going. 3 for 8.
– At Home With Paul Bearer. I’ll spare you this.
– The Undertaker v. Ultimate Warrior. This would be our main event for the tape, and the “Here comes…” ring announcing would place this in Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. This was of course nearing the end of Warrior’s initial run in the WWF, as he lost a series of bodybag matches to Undertaker and then wigged out after Summerslam 91 and left. Warrior as usual charges in and attacks, slugging away in the corner and following with a corner clothesline. Undertaker moves away from a second one, so Warrior just funnels his momentum into a clothesline over the top instead. He tries to haul UT back in, but gets necksnapped for his troubles. Taker smothers him with the choke, as they just stand there doing nothing for like 2 minutes. As much grief as I give Undertaker these days, at least he knows how to work now. I mean, seriously, they just STAND THERE doing this chokehold thing with nothing going on. Warrior fights out and makes the comeback, hopefully ending this thing quickly, but Taker hammers him down again. Taker gets the flying clothesline, but Warrior does the delayed sell to draw a face pop. Taker misses the elbow, as usual, and Warrior shakes the ropes and makes the comeback. Clothesline, clothesline, clothesline, but he walks into the tombstone. Taker only gets two, which would be unthinkable today, so Taker uses the urn and draws the DQ at 7:47. 3 for 9.
Well, a 1/3 record isn’t bad, all things considered. Nothing to go out of your way for, however.
WWF Rampage 92!
– Hosted by Sean Mooney again, with a western theme this time.
– Undertaker v. Razor Ramon. This was during Ramon’s initial heel push, and he was undefeated at this point. Ramon attacks to start, but gets choked out in the corner for his troubles. He keeps slugging back on Taker, finally knocking him down with a forearm, but only momentarily. Taker chokes him out in the corner and Razor bails, but loses a minor brawl outside. Back in, Taker slams him and misses his elbow, which by then he had refined into a situp spot. Ramon clotheslines him to the floor, but gets necksnapped while going after him. It’s actually kind of interesting to watch a 1991 UT match and then see him growing as a worker by the next year. They slug it out and Taker tries to go old school, which back then was new school, and Ramon counters him and slugs away to take over. They brawl outside and Ramon gets nowhere, so he hits him with a chair a few times, rather surprisingly avoiding a DQ. Taker just shakes it off, and clotheslines Ramon as they head back in. Ramon needs the heavy artillery, so he goes to the abdominal stretch and even Gorilla Monsoon calls it a waste of time. More punching from both guys as this is going nowhere slowly, and Ramon goes to the chinlock to hopefully come up with some sort of plan. Ramon is bleeding from the temple from something, and quite openly badmouthing Paul Bearer as a result, so you can probably fill in the blanks there. Taker fights out of the chinlock and gets the flying clothesline, so Ramon takes a walk at 8:54. Good god, what a car wreck. 0 for 1.
– Intercontinental title: Bret Hart v. Shawn Michaels. Shawn takes him down with an armdrag and starts mocking him early. Boy, this stuff takes on so much more of an aura considering what happened years later. At this point they were still friends in real life. They exchange hammerlocks and Shawn gets sent to the floor as a result, allowing Bret to yank him back in by the arm and go to work on that. Shawn eludes him in the corner, so Bret clotheslines him for two. Bret goes back to the arm again and then turns a spinebuster into a catapult, which gets two. Back to the arm again, but Bret runs into the knee and Shawn takes over. A shot from Sherri sets up a two-count for Shawn. High knee gets two. We hit the chinlock and Bret fights out of that, but runs into an elbow, which gets two for Shawn. Back to the chinlock, but Bret powers out again, and catches an exasperated Shawn with a small package for two. Shawn slugs away and gets two, and it’s back to the chinlock again. Bret slugs out and walks into a sleeper as a result, but sends Shawn into the corner to break. Shawn dropkicks him for two, as he has more energy. He sends Bret back into the corner, and Bret comes out of there with a clothesline. Shawn staggers into an atomic drop that puts him in the corner, and Bret works him over there and hits him with a clothesline to the back of the head. Backbreaker, second rope elbow get two. What, no russian leg sweep? Shawn backslides him for two, so Bret rolls him up for two. Bret grabs a headlock and they collide, but Shawn is up first with some sweet chin music. He sets up for the side suplex, but Bret reverses to a rollup for two. Another superkick is blocked with an atomic drop, but Shawn flips over into a rollup for two, and Bret reverses for two. Sherri gets involved and Shawn charges, but collides with his manager and Bret rolls him up for the pin at 13:31 to retain. This was flirting with **** most of the way through. 1 for 2, duh.
– Makeup tips with Sensational Sherri makes for easy fast forward material.
– 40-man battle royale. This is a bunch of midcarders and some bottom-of-the-barrel jobbers, although there’s a guy named Bruce Mitchell in there. He does kind of look like the Torch writer, which makes me wonder a little. Skinner and Rick Martel are out quickly, much faster than you’d expect in a match where The Dublin Destroyer is a major force. Jobbers fly out without much fanfare as it’s all just a big mess of people without any flow to it. We finally get down to a watchable amount of people, although with the only marquee names in there being Bret Hart and Tatanka it’s not hard to guess who’s gonna win. Tatanka goes out soon after, however, leaving us with Bret, Bulldog, Virgil, Koko B Ware, the Beverly Brothers and a Nasty Boy. It’s quickly down to the Beverlies against Bret and Bulldog after a whole lotta nothing, and the Hart contingent handles the Bevs pretty easily until Bulldog collides with Bret and Beau on the ropes and accidentally eliminates Hart, leaving himself against the Beverlies. They toss Bulldog, but he hangs on and tosses Blake, and then finishes off Beau for the anticlimactic win. 1 for 3.
– Rick Martel v. Tatanka. Yet another in their endless series of midcard filler matches. Martel’s pre-match attack goes nowhere and Tatanka chases him out of the ring with a clothesline. Back in and Tatanka hits him with an atomic drop and clotheslines him out again, this time falling victim to some choking before reversing Martel into the post. They brawl outside and Martel catches him with more choking as they head back in again, but he misses a blind charge and Tatanka goes to work on the arm. He misses his own charge, however, and Martel takes over with a backdrop suplex and starts targeting the back. Side salto gets two. He resumes the choking again and we hit the chinlock, but Tatanka uses the power of Native Americans all over the world to fight out of it. Sadly, he runs into a knee, allowing Martel to get a backbreaker, but a splash hits knees. And it’s ethnic stereotype comeback time, as he catches Martel coming off the second rope and fights back with chops. Martel catches him with a stungun, however, and then preens for JUST a bit too long and gets rolled up for the pin at 7:13. Boy, didn’t see that finish coming. At all. 1 for 4.
– The Legion of Doom & Precious Paul Ellering v. The Beverly Brothers & The Genius. Just what the world was waiting for. I do believe this was the only time Ellering actually stepped into the ring in the WWF, but I could be wrong. I’m not expecting much past a comedy match here, so anything over that should be a bonus. Ellering starts with Poffo, who has a hilarious neon green and black bodysuit with “G” all over it. Ellering gets a backslide for two and a neckbreaker, but ends up in the heel corner. Ellering makes a blind tag while getting whipped into the ropes, however, and Animal comes in to deal with Blake, but gets powerslammed. Animal comes back with one of his own and the heels regroup outside. So Beau decides to try against Hawk, who fakes a handshake to psyche him out. Well, that obviously wouldn’t work against the Genius, for obvious reasons. He’s just lucky it was Beau. We continue the stallfest until Beau attacks Hawk, but gets rammed into the mat for his troubles. Hawk is content to throw punches in the corner, as everyone is obviously super-motivated tonight. For those who need a guide, that was sarcasm. More stalling and now Blake attacks Hawk, dropping him on the top rope, which has zero effect on him. Blake runs away from Hawk’s comeback, but gets dragged back in the ring again. Hawk misses a charge and eats some ringpost, and thus is your face-in-peril. Yeah, asking Hawk to sell, great move. Back in the ring, Blake gets a neckbreaker and Beau follows with a double axehandle and rolling necksnap. Blake adds the backbreaker and tries coming off the top, but misses a diving headbutt and it’s hot tag Animal. Houses are cleaned and Animal gets a shoulderblock on Beau for two, then DDTs both of the Bevs at the same time. It turns into something a bit BONZO GONZO and Hawk gets a bizarre flying splash onto Beau for the pin at 10:03. I have no idea what they were going for there. 1 for 5. Ellering and Genius were non-factors.
– Tito Santana & Virgil v. Money Inc. Interesting note from the Wrestlemania XX DVD, which featured a trivia section for each of the previous Wrestlemanias — IRS and Dibiase are the only team in WWF/E history to not only come into two consecutive Wrestlemanias (VIII and IX) with the tag titles, but to successfully defend them both years (retain via countout against the Natural Disasters and retain via DQ against Beefcake & Hogan). I hadn’t actually stopped to consider that before, but there ya go. Santana starts with IRS and gets slammed right off the bat, but comes back with a hiptoss to send the heels reeling. Tito and Virgil do some double-teaming on the arm of IRS, which draws Dibiase into the ring. Dibiase works Virgil over in the corner, but gets atomic dropped into the corner and pinballed by the babyfaces. That gets two. Tito grabs an armbar, but runs into Irwin’s knee and the heels take over. IRS drops elbows for one, and Dibiase works him over in the corner. Tito comes back with a sunset flip for two, but Dibiase pounds him right back down again. Irwin comes in with a shot from the top for two. We hit the chinlock, as Dibiase lends leverage from the apron. Ted switches in and gets two as well. Back to the chinlock with more cheating from IRS, but Virgil is OUTRAGED by the blatant disregard for the rules, which of course allows even more cheating from the heels. Tito elbows out of the chinlock, but IRS retains control and Money Inc adds more punishment in the corner. The crowd is unreasonably hot for friggin’ Virgil and Matador, so it must have been early in the tapings. Dibiase tries a piledriver, but Tito reverses out and makes the false tag to Virgil, as everyone is really fired up in this thing for some reason. As Virgil gets escorted out a couple of times, more damage is done by the heels, and they’ve really got this crowd pissed off now, in the good way. Finally Tito hits Dibiase with a neckbreaker and makes the HOT tag to Virgil, and boy is the crowd ready for that one. He cleans house with the usual babyface offense, and a legsweep gets two on IRS. It’s BONZO GONZO and the heels collide, and the faces even add stereo dropkicks for good measure. However, Virgil tries to suplex IRS into the ring, and Dibiase grabs the leg for the pin at 9:45. To say that one exceeded expections would be an understatement. 2 for 6.
– WWF World title: Randy Savage v. Repo Man. Savage had a really good and underrated run as champion in 1992, and if not for his own insanity might have ended up with a more meaningful exit from the promotion than he got. Repo Man tries stealing the belt, and although you can’t fault him for the direct approach Savage doesn’t play that way and drags him back to the ring. Repo tries some choking as they get into the ring and tosses him right away, then sends him into the post. I see we’re going with the standard “Macho gets the shit kicked out of him and then finishes with the elbow out of nowhere” formula tonight. Repo works him over on the apron and chokes away back in the ring, but Savage hits him with the clothesline and gets a rare high cross from the top for two. Repo clobbers him down again and gets two. Repo takes him down with a snapmare for two, and hits the chinlock. However, Savage comes back quickly with the shoulderblock, before falling into the ropes and getting tied up. Instead of capitalizing, however, Repo chooses to undo a turnbuckle, and then uses his hook as a weapon while the ref fixes it. Hey, that was pretty smart, actually! That gets two. Small note — it’s funny to see these matches with Mike Chioda as referee, back when he had hair. Repo goes back to the chinlock yet again, until Savage breaks free and goes up with a double axehandle. However, he gets caught coming down and Repo takes over again. Blind charge hits boot and Savage hits him with the axehandle this time, for two. Repo goes for the hook again, but tries it in front of the ref, which allows Savage to sneak in and use it himself. Flying elbow, good night irene at 9:00. Too punchy-kicky and not enough offense from Savage, who definitely had it in cruise control here. 2 for 7.
– Berzerker & Papa Shango v. Undertaker & Ultimate Warrior. Oh my god, this is a JOKE right? This is like some kind of bizarre punchline rather than a tag match someone would actually put together. To top it off, Lord Alfred Hayes calls Ultimate Warrior “one of the greatest wrestlers of all-time, if not THE greatest,” with a straight face! The worst thing is that we didn’t get any pre-match promos to build it up, because they would have been 100x more entertaining than the match would be. Sadly, we never got the Undertaker-Papa Shango showdown to we could discover if Undertaker’s powers were greater than voodoo, and really the Undertaker-Kama feud was no substitute. Berzerker and Undertaker slug it out to start, and that doesn’t go Berzerker’s way. Warrior comes in and adds a corner clothesline and some shoulderblocks, but a shot from Shango slows him down. Shango puts the beats on him in the corner, and as usual it’s tough to tell if Warrior is selling or having a seizure. Berzerker gets the big boot, but Warrior decides to go for the tag instead, resulting in Berzerker slowly diving to save it. It’s like these four guys who are so terrible at wrestling trying to do basic tag team stuff and looking all the more retarded for not being able to pull it off. They keep Warrior in the corner, but he backdrops Berzerker out of the ring and makes the hot tag. It’s so funny seeing Undertaker standing on the apron, trying to reach for the tag while attempting to never break character. Anyway, Taker cleans house and the faces do some double-teaming, which leads to Warrior finishing Berzerker with the usual at 7:50. Oh, this was bad, yes it was. When Warrior’s the guy who needs to do the selling, you’re in trouble. 2 for 8.