The SmarK 24/7 Rant for WWF European Rampage ’91
– Taped from the Royal Albert Hall, October 1991.
– Your hosts are Gorilla & Lord Robert of Heenan.
– Quite an interesting atmosphere for this show, almost like Trump Casino but with fans who give a shit.
The Nasty Boys v. The Rockers
Things were nearing the end for Shawn & Marty as a team at this point, although still having great matches. Big stall to start before Shawn starts with Sags and takes a shot in the corner. They criss-cross and Sags catches a leapfrog attempt by Shawn, but Shawn catches him with a superkick and Marty comes in off the top with a bodypress onto both Nasties to clean house. Back in, Knobs wants Jannetty, who obliges by coming in with a bulldog off the top, and the Nasties run away again. Back to Knobs and Marty, as Marty’s rollup attempt is blocked, but he gets a sunset flip for two. Over to Sags, but Marty takes him down with an armdrag and works on that. They seem to be having trouble getting it into gear here. The Rockers switch off behind the ref’s back, which has Jimmy Hart outraged. He tells the ref to ask the people in the front row if they tagged, so he does. And they back up the Rockers. That’s pretty funny, actually. Shawn evades a charging Sags and takes him down for a trip to the post, but Knobs pulls the top rope down and Shawn is YOUR face-in-peril. Well, turnabout is fair play. But then two wrongs don’t make a right. I dunno, the whole thing is a very murky moral grey area, really. Anyway, the Nasties take turns getting cheapshots on Shawn on the floor, and Sags brings him in with a necksnap. Knobs drops an elbow for two. He pounds away in the corner and brings in Sags, who goes to a bearhug. Shawn fights out, so Knobs goes to a camel clutch in the laziest way possible. False tag to Marty allows the Nasties to try the double-team in the corner, but it misses and it’s hot tag Marty for real. He slugs away on Knobs, and the Nasties collide to give Marty two. It’s BONZO GONZO and the Nasties collide again, and Marty gets two on Sags again. Shawn presses Marty onto Knobs, but the megaphone gets involved and Sags pins Marty at 17:19. Longish, but totally by the numbers stuff. **1/2
– Meanwhile, Ric Flair (still wearing an unblurred NWA World heavyweight title belt) has words for Roddy Piper.
Tito Santana v. Ric Flair
Just to clarify, the Real World’s Title is not on the line here. Flair gives him a Woo in the corner to start, so Tito slugs him. Bobby Heenan’s commentary is somewhat biased here. Tito shoulderblocks him down and Flair bails, and they fight for a wristlock back in the ring. Flair works on the arm and uses the hair, but Tito gets fired up and dumps him. They brawl on the floor and Flair meets the railing, but comes back with chops to take over. He hammers on Tito on the apron, but Tito comes back in with a sunset flip for two and starts working on the leg. Flair comes back with the pin in the corner, but only gets two. Tito hammers him in the corner, but Flair takes him down with an atomic drop for two, using the ropes again. Snapmare gets two and the ref still doesn’t see his feet on the ropes, but Tito makes the comeback and wins a slugfest in the corner. Flair Flip and Tito clotheslines him on the apron and suplexes him back in. Backslide gets two. Flair goes to the eyes and chops him down for two, then follows with a backdrop suplex into the figure-four. And he uses the ropes, but Tito actually fights him off and reverses it. Flair skulks in for the kill again, but Tito catches him with a shot and dumps him, then slams him on the floor. They trade chops out there until Flair tosses him back in, but he tries to come in off the top and gets slammed. That gets two for Tito. Clothesline out of the corner gets two. Flying forearm gets two, as Flair somehow gets his foot on the ropes. Tito rolls him up for two, but Flair reverses with the tights for the pin at 16:12. Dull to start, but they got time to build it and Flair kept giving Tito offense until he got it over. ***1/2
Big Bossman v. Earthquake
They fight over the lockup to start and Bossman gets overpowered. It’s pretty amazing watching the 89 show last night and then this one and seeing the weight difference in Big Bossman, as he must have dropped close to 100 pounds in that two years. Quake slams him, but Bossman rolls away from his elbow attempts and goes after Jimmy Hart, succeeding only in getting his jacket. Back in, Bossman grabs the headlock and uses the beard to maintain it. Quake knocks him down to escape, but misses that damn elbow again. Bossman comes off the middle rope with an axehandle, finally putting Quake down, and he goes up…but gets caught and slammed. That would normally be the finish, but Quake opts to step on him instead of butt-splashing him, so we continue. Quake uses the POWER OF THE ASS in the corner, and whips him into the corner to set up a bearhug. Bossman quickly escapes, but gets pounded down again and Quake stomps on the back and hits the chinlock. Bossman fights up, so Quake pounds him down and out to the floor, where Bossman takes a nice facefirst bump into the stairs. Back in, that gets two. Quake toys with him a bit, but a rather unexpected enzuigiri gets two. Quake collides with Jimmy and Bossman rolls him up for two. Bossman clotheslines him into the ropes, but the Mountie joins us at ringside to avenge Jimmy’s honor, while Bossman pounds on the prone Earthquake. Mountie trips Bossman up, Quake drops the elbow, and it’s over at 15:44. Man, they’re really giving these matches some time tonight. Bossman was gold in 1991, what can I say? ***
The Mountie v. Kerry Von Erich
If he was truly the law, he’d check Kerry’s bags for coke and hold him at the border. And obviously only someone on illegal substances could have picked Kerry’s color scheme tonight: Barney purple tights and teal kneepads. Seriously, he’s like Aquaman in the camo outfit or something. They jostle for the lockup to start and Mountie goes with the cheapshot, but Tornado slugs him down and out. Back in, Kerry starts on the arm, then slugs him out off a criss-cross. The crowd makes disparaging remarks about Mountie’s recent night in jail, so he decides to leave and then changes his mind. Whew. Back in, and it’s more stalling, until Kerry attacks and walks into a sleeper. That’s just what this match needed! So that goes on for a while, until Kerry ramps it up by reversing to his own. Thank god he was fired soon after this. Mountie slugs his way out of it and Kerry lands on the floor in a bump so contrived that he might as well have sent out invitations beforehand. They “brawl” on the floor and Kerry misses the tornado punch and hits the post in another one you could see coming a mile away. Back in, Mountie goes to work on the hand, and pins him in the corner with the ropes at 13:12. Literally, the first 8 minutes of the match were spent in a sleeper. But no, the match continues because Danny Davis changes his mind, and Mountie takes a backdrop and walks out. Well that one ruined any goodwill this show was building. Tornado was god-awful here and three guesses why that might have been. 1/2*
The Undertaker v. Jim Duggan
In a nice touch, Undertaker gets a live organist with a Phantom of the Opera mask to play him down. He also gets a pretty good face pop a few months before he turned. Taker quickly charges and hits knee, and Duggan clotheslines him to the floor. Back in, Taker slugs him down and chokes away on the ropes, then again on the mat. It’s kind of weird how Undertaker could go from such a one-dimensional cartoon character into a nuanced worker capable of getting something good out of a guy like Batista. Taker gets the ropewalk and it’s more choking in the corner. Duggan breaks it up with an atomic drop, but Taker no-sells. Duggan pounds away in the corner and goes after Paul Bearer so as to reclaim his board, but Taker jumps him and adds the flying clothesline back in the ring. Duggan finally gives up and just hits him with the 2×4, and that’s the DQ at 6:18. Another yawner. 1/2* Duggan should have done the clean job here.
– Interview-o-rama would seem to indicate that it’s intermission time.
WWF World tag titles: Legion of Doom v. Power & Glory
This was long after Roma & Hercules had fallen to the level of gloried jobbers. Roma is dumb enough to attempt a test of strength with Hawk. Is he gonna buy into a pyramid scheme, too? Or try boxing? Oh, wait, he really did do that one. Roma quickly loses and slugs at Hawk, but gets dropkicked out of the ring. Back in, Hawk snapmares him and drops a fist for two. Over to Hercules and Animal, and they slug it out until Animal clotheslines him out of the corner, and it’s back over to Hawk. Hercules takes him down with an atomic drop, but gets rammed into the turnbuckles. P&G pound on Hawk in the corner, but Roma is also dumb enough to piledrive Hawk, and of course it’s no-sold. Hawk presses Herc into Roma and the LOD clean house. Hawk misses a flying clothesline and bumps out of the ring, although it’s likely that Roma just tripped on his own shoelaces rather than actually ducking. Back in, Herc drops Hawk on the top rope, but he makes the tag to Animal anyway. Shoulderblock for Roma and corner clothesline follows, and a powerbomb gets two. It’s BONZO GONZO and Roma goes up with a flying bodypress on Animal, but it’s reversed into a powerslam for the pin at 9:07. The LOD barely broke a sweat with that one. *
The Barbarian v. The British Bulldog
Barbarian grabs a headlock to start and they do the power match, but Barbarian runs into a boot and Bulldog dropkicks him to the floor. This gives me the chance to ponder: Did Bulldog actually grow his hair long enough for cornrows between 1989 and 1991, or are they extensions? And what heterosexual male would want to have extensions like that done, if so? Bulldog tries a sunset flip, which is blocked, but Barbarian punches the mat and Bulldog starts on the arm. Barbarian dumps him to escape the armbar and rams Bulldog’s back into the post. Back in, Barbarian hits the chinlock and even the morons with the air horns can’t make this match interesting. Piledriver gets two. He goes up and misses the elbow, as usual, and Bulldog dumps with a clothesline to come back. Back in, a clothesline gets two. Delayed vertical suplex gets two. Barbarian misses a charge and Bulldog puts this dog to bed with the powerslam at 10:27. 1/2*
Battle Royale Main Event
So we’ve got Kerry Von Erich, Typhoon, Earthquake, Tito Santana, Shawn Michaels, Marty Jannetty, The Barbarian, Big Bossman, Jim Duggan, Jerry Sags, Brian Knobs, Ric Flair, Hercules, Paul Roma, Hawk, Animal, The Mountie, Undertaker, Roddy Piper and British Bulldog. Flair and Piper immediately brawl to the floor, as do Bossman and Mountie. Quake struggles to get Bossman out, but Marty saves. Hercules gets the honor of being first out, as Hawk clotheslines him out. Kerry goes soon after, followed by Knobs via Piper. Marty gets tossed off camera (Bobby: “It doesn’t matter which one.” Ouch.) and Tito muscles Barbarian out. At least it’s moving at a pretty good clip. Tito gets done by Quake right after, as Flair and Piper keep going after each other. Hawk gets tossed by Sags, and Animal avenges his partner by dumping Sags. Mountie tosses Shawn, who skins the cat back in but gets slugged right back out again. Animal presses Flair, but stupidly slams him instead of tossing him. Quake casually dumps Duggan, but he comes back in with the board and forces Quake out. There’s some sportsmanship for ya. Flair and Piper fight out again, and sadly that feud was never properly paid off on PPV. Piper finally backdrops him out during a slugfest to end that story. Roma slugs it out with Bulldog and gets backdropped out. Undertaker dumps a charging Animal. Piper actually backdrops Undertaker out, but he pulls Piper out behind him, leaving Mountie, Typhoon, Bossman and Bulldog as the final four. The heels stop and strategize, and Bossman runs after Mountie, to no avail. However, he charges one time too many, and Mountie pulls down the rope and he’s gone. So of course it’s Bulldog against the two heels, but Bulldog puts Mountie in the path of a charging Typhoon to take him down. Mountie recovers and gets in Typhoon’s face about that, but Typhoon takes exception and turns on Mountie to get rid of him. And then the inevitable end, as Typhoon gets a corner splash and clotheslines him, but runs into a backdrop to give Davey the win at 14:36. It was a battle royale, whatever. The Disasters are sore losers and beat on the Bulldog, but Andre the Giant makes a somewhat unexpected cameo to save him. Wasn’t anyone else available? Why make the poor crippled Andre go out there and make the save? Were the LOD in the shower?
Some good stuff to start, but the main event was just another battle royale and the matches in the middle dragged enough to bring this down to a non-recommendation. Don’t bother.