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 Welcome To The Vault! In This Edition, Harry Simon Goes Back To Yesteryear To Bring Us Inside The WWF!

Inside The WWF
Approx running time: 2 hrs
Approx time period covered: 1993
Released: 1994
Host: Gorilla Monsoon

Inside Look: The first "behind-the-scenes" sneak peek we were treated to was Bret Hart coming out of the shower with a towel wrapped around him. Oh, for God's sake, they're doing gay porn again. And they wonder why 1994 was one of the worst-earning years in company history.

Gorilla welcomed us by threatening, "That first piece of footage you saw was just an inkling of what you're about to see." Great. Just.great.

1) The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) pinned Evil Japanese Crush (w/ Mr. Fuji) at 7:02 [?/93]. EJC was one of the few wrestlers who didn't have any entrance theme music. Seeing how this was 1994, that meant that he automatically had one of the top five entrance themes in the company. I can tell right now that the announcing is going to be painful. Gorilla angrily corrected Johnny Polo that it was, "The Undertaker," and not, in fact, "The Underwear Taker." A fan held up an official WWF Undertaker placemat. Not to be confused with all of the unauthorized bootleg Undertaker placemats that are out there on the black market. Buyer beware. Anyway, the storyline here was that Crush was one of the few men who could physically match up against the Deadman, for all the good it did him. EJC did get the lion's share of the offense, including an impressive press slam. Finish saw Crush try to tombstone UT, who reversed the move for the pin. Decent enough big man match. UT sold for EJC as much as he's ever sold for anyone. Crush played his role well, too. (David)

Inside Look: Shawn Michaels & Diesel are plotting strategy by watching Yokozuna wrestle Tatanka on a monitor backstage. Okay, I'm gonna level with you people; I was all set to make a joke about how the Clique guys were secretly planning to bury both guys for not being in the Clique. But no sooner do I start to fabricate a zingy line, but Michaels legitimately starts explaining to Diesel why Tatanka "doesn't have what it takes to be champion." I am not making this up. Ah, those wacky Clique politicians. Whether working or shooting, they took the art of douchebaggery to new heights.or depths.

2) Razor Ramon & Marty Jannetty beat IC champion Shawn Michaels & Diesel at 11:29 [7/27/93]. Coming this fall to movie theaters everywhere, it's Three Cliques And A Marty! Hey, if Michaels & Diesel were going to wrestle Razor & Jannetty, then why the hell were they plotting strategy by watching a Yokozuna-Tatanka match? Dumbasses. Anyway, this was during the "Lex Express" gimmick where all the babyfaces wore red, white, and blue wristbands in support of Lex Luger. With guys like Scott Hall and MJ in your corner, it doesn't matter whether you win or lose, because you know the after-match party is going to be the stuff of legends. Jannetty was so over, the crowd chanted "Razor" every time he was in the ring. This was another of those Coliseum mix-n-match tag team matches, where each guy had a strongman and a technician. MJ was the redheaded stepchild of the match, finally hot-tagging Razor. The faces cleaned house, ending with MJ superkicking HBK into Razor's chokeslam for the pin. It was obvious that they were gonna push the hell of Razor in 93. Very good match. HBK was the star, of course, and Diesel was protected to where you bought him as a killer. Both babyfaces did a good job, too. (Kerry)

WWF Studio Tour w/ Johnny Polo, Part 1. Polo bragged about his pass card that gave him access to Titan Tower. Polo met the receptionist, who wasn't bad looking for a middle-aged chick. Only thing was, they didn't think to mic her, so you could barely hear her. She said "This is Bob Hart's card. He reported this stolen last week!" Maybe she meant Bob Holly. Or Bret Hart. It would have been funnier had he swiped Lord Alfred Hayes' card, then tried to impersonate Lord Al with a horrible accent. Then the receptionist, and all the clueless employees should have believed that Polo was Lord Al. Then he should have encouraged kids to tell the feds that their parents stole cable while injecting heroin into their eyeballs. Okay, now I've gone too far.

3) Tatanka beat Bam Bam Bigelow (w/ Luna Vachon) via CO to remain undefeated at 12:42 [?/93]. Tatanka immediately tried to scalp BBB with a little tomahawk before the match started. Tatanka even hit a tope through the ropes to officially start the match. You see, these lads feuded because Bigelow cut off some of Tatanka's hair, which he had dyed red to symbolize the bloodlines of Native Americans. So for those of you keeping track, Bigelow has feuded with an Indian, a midget clown, and a coked-out football player. Lady Luck gave the poor guy genital warts. Tatanka hit a really weird DDT that actually looked like BBB was giving Tatanka the Bubba/Bossman sideslam. I blame both guys, the cameraman, the director, and HHH. When Tatanka missed a flying bodypress, Gorilla scolded that a blind hog could find an acorn. Polo fired back, "How is a blind hog gonna find anything? He can't see!" He's got a point there. BBB pitched Tatanka to the outside so Luna could sneak in some shots. During all of this, Tatanka was outside the ring for almost two full minutes, yet he didn't get counted out. True, BBB distracted the ref from time to time, but this was still ridiculous. Tatanka started a comeback ('Tanking up? Revving up his injun?), but BBB cut him off with a nice big man version of a standing dropkick. Tatanka met an avalanche with a foot to the face. Gorilla called it a "moccasin," prompting Polo to point out that moccasins don't hurt as much as wrestling boots. Much like BBB's tights, JP was on fire in this match. Tatanka eventually started a comeback with his war dance, but BBB stopped him with a sweet enziguiri. BBB then mocked the war dance. Tatanka came back again and chopped BBB to outside the ring. The lads brawled and Tatanka hit a sloppy version of his Samoan drop finisher on the outside (which Polo called, "the wigwam bomb") for the CO. After the match, Luna distracted Tatanka so BBB could lay him out with another enziguiri. BBB teased cutting off more of Tatanka's hair, but some referees made the save until Tatanka could make yet another comeback. Tatanka teased cutting off some of Luna's hair, but the heels powdered out. BBB was good, but Tatanka was not. Filler. (Mike)

Next was a special feature behind the scenes on a taping of All-American Wrestling. Exciting music played over a montage of buttons being pressed and cameramen looking indifferent.

4) Bret Hart b Adam Bomb (w/ Johnny Polo) at 11:39 [8/31/93]. To open this match, Polo (who was wearing swimmer's gear) looked into the camera and said Bret was "a personal friend of Ronald McDonald." Even Stan Lane was confused by that one. Here's a great example of Bret being a one-man show. This told a simple but effective story as Bomb kept powering out of Bret's holds. The point was proven and Bret bumped like a pinball, making Bomb look like a million bucks. Bomb is unfairly criticized for some reason. He wasn't Rick Steamboat or anything, but for a big guy, he wasn't nearly as bad as the Nashes or Sids of the world. He had the last great "wrestler name" ever created, too. The match was all Bomb until Bret stopped a charge with a boot to the face and a picture-perfect flying bulldog off the second rope. Bret started the FMOD, but missed the diving forearm. Bomb gave Bret a hanging choke and went to the top rope, but Bret was playing possum and threw him off. Bret locked in the sharpshooter and Bomb submitted. Good stuff. Note: This match was also on the Bret "Hitman" Hart video. (David)

Inside Look: Earthquake said hi to the Coliseum cameras. A rare glimpse into something we'd never see on WWF programming.

WWF Studio Tour w/ Johnny Polo, Part 2. Johnny met John Arnold, the WWF Videotape Librarian. JP got John rambling, then snuck out so he could humorously start moving the giant shelf, squishing the poor librarian. Johnny made his way to an editing room while we heard bloodcurdling death screams in the background. That's right, girly-boy! Back before you were watching wrestling, our heels had HAIR on their chests!

5) Randy Savage beat Doink The Clown by RD at 9:17 [6/14/93]. It was kinda funny how Polo used to bait Gorilla by ripping on referee Joey Marella (Gorilla's legit son) every chance he got. Evil Doink ruled. Savage was dressed like The Rainbow Raider from "Flash" comic books. Fans were into this and both guys got their personalities over. This match also had more stalling than Larry Zbyszko driving a Ford Tempo. When Savage laid out Doink with his axehandle to the floor, Doink #2 ran down for the ol' switcheroo. D2 tossed out Savage, then rolled back in the ring to beat the count while D1 held Savage's feet so he was counted out. Savage chased D2 to the back with the ref in tow. They pretty much gave away what was gonna happen by keeping the tape rolling when they all disappeared. Savage came back, dragged out D1, threw him in the ring, then threw him out of the ring again. Yeah, that'll teach him. The ref reversed the decision. I hate RD finishes. They make the babyface look like a chump. If you're going to do this, better to have the ref restart the match so the face can win it. That's slightly better. Good gimmicks, bad match. (Chris)

Inside Look: Savage kibitzed with Razor. The two acted like best buds despite the fact that Razor cost Savage the World Title the year before. The lads discussed the importance of being IC champion. Razor asked Macho if he ever got that not-so-fresh feeling. Then they ate bonbons and talked about the latest episode of "Days Of Our Lives."

6) IC champion Razor beat Ludvig Borega by RD to retain the title at 10:06 [12/14/93]. Razor was blingless. This was during the feud where IRS stole his gold chains. As opposed to stealing the gold belt. For a taxman, Irwin sure was stupid. Stan Lane and Ted DiBiase called the action. It's always great when your announce team are better workers than the guys in the ring. Borega overpowered Razor, even tossing him over the top rope from a tie-up. Fans chanted "USA" and "Razor." Terribly boring match. I'm talking Lugerville. When Razor eventually went for the Razor's edge, ref Earl Hebner took a bump. Shawn Michaels ran-in and bonked Razor with his bogus IC belt. Borega crawled over and pinned RR. Okay, follow this logic. Shawn has a gripe with Razor and wants to prove that he is the undisputed IC champ. So he helps Borega beat Razor to win the IC Title. Heels were such dumbasses back in the 90s. Borega was announced as the new champ, but two more refs came down and told Hebner what happened. When Heb realized there were two IC belts laying around, he reversed the decision. Borega returned to the ring where Razor laid him out with one of the belts. What did I just say about RD finishes? Nobody listens to me. (Chris)
 
WWF Studio Tour w/ Johnny Polo, Part 3. Polo interrupted Lord Alfred Hayes as LAH was reading about the battle of Waterloo from the set of All-American Wrestling. Polo mocked LAH's tennis shoes. LAH retorted that he had been jogging with President Clinton. LAH was demanding Polo be removed from the studio, but when Polo commandeered a camera, LAH casually went back to reading. The hell?

Inside Look: Lex Luger tells us the importance of training in a bizarre S&M room with thick bullropes hanging from the ceiling. Luger told his young fans the importance of always striving to be the best. "Oh yeah, and don't date a bitch with a gag reflex, either." Okay, I made that last part up.

7) Lex Luger beat IC champion Michaels (w/ Diesel) via CO so Michaels retained the title at 9:04 [8/?/93]. This was probably Luger's best WWF match. Michaels bumped like crazy to make him look good. Finish saw Michaels finally get fed up by carrying Luger's ass, so he powdered out. It was implied, but I got it. After the bell, Luger KOed Diesel with the bionic forearm. Trivbit: This match happened the same week Luger beat World champ Yokozuna via countout at SummerSlam 93. So fans in the arena for this match saw Luger wrestle two champions in two matches, notch two victories.and have ZERO championships to show for it. This was the beginning of the end for Double-L. Good match, thanks to HBK. (David)

Inside Look: Jeff Jarrett tells us how to spell his name. It's such a refreshing change of pace to see wrestlers candidly behind the scenes.

WWF Studio Tour w/ Johnny Polo, Part 4. Now Polo is making an ass of himself on the set of WWF Mania. You remember, that was the Todd Pettengill show that had so much effort put into it, its "set" was one of the editing rooms at Titan Tower. Polo does a horribly unfunny imitation of John Cleese's Magnavox commercials, and right now, I would give my left nut for a sniper. Just one. Polo was joined by superfan George. Or maybe it was Adam. I never could tell those two apart.

We're back on the AAW set with Gorilla, who proceeds to threaten Polo with one of Doink's large novelty mallets. Why did he leave those things lying around, anyway? They were dangerous! Gorilla further told Lord Al to save every dime he has. He then pleaded with George to "get a real job." Is it any wonder Gorilla is so loved and respected?

Inside Look: Jim Cornette went over strategy with Yokozuna for his cage match against Bret Hart. "Go out the door," he advised. . Thanks, guy. Still though, in all seriousness, James E. made this work. Yoko yelled "Banzai" at the camera for some reason.

8) World champion Yokozuna (w/ Fuji) beat Bret in a cage match to retain the title by escaping at 18:19 [12/15/93]. Yoko's salt bucket ominously sat on the ring steps. Does that give away the finish? As great as Bret was, this match just didn't work. Bret had to do the slow-climb to explain why he couldn't just jump out of the damn cage and leave the sumo in the dust. Yoko slammed Bret off the top of the cage, but Bret recovered way too quick. Bret dropkicked Yoko into the cage, but Yoke came back with a headbutt. Yoko went for the door but Bret tripped him for the belly-flop spot. It looked good, but it was kinda goofy when you realize that one of Yoko's gimmicks at first was that he couldn't be taken off his feet. When Yoko went for the Banzai drop, Bret rolled away and went for the door, but Fuji held the door shut. When Bret went for the climb again, Yoko crotched him on the top rope. Yoko went for the door, but Bret cut him off. Yoko still managed to bring the bucket into the ring (told ya). As the bucket laid in the ring, Gorilla was beside himself that a) It was left out there to begin with, and b) Bret didn't go for the bucket himself. Good points, all. When Yoko missed a splash, Gorilla berated Bret for not grabbing the bucket (which for some reason, suddenly took precedence over escaping the damn cage). Bret went for a bulldog, but Yoko fell the wrong way. That was just bad. Yoko finally grabbed the bucket. Shockingly, Yoko did not automatically win the match right then and there. I was never a big fan of the salt bucket gimmick. Yoko would eventually kick the bucket in 2000. Bret covered Yoko, and ref Danny Davis jumped in to count a nearfall. Gorilla was understandably perplexed by this. Same thing happened over on "Bloopers, Bleeps, & Bodyslams." Bret gave Yoko another bucketshot and went for yet another climb. Fuji threw salt at Bret. It missed by a mile, but Bret sold it anyway. Fuji tried another saltshot.and missed AGAIN. At this point, even Bret gave up on selling and went for another climb while Yoko rolled for the door. That's, right the ol' photo-finish finish for a Yokozuna cage match. Yoko won. Both guys did what they could, and the match wasn't bad, but the simple fact is that Yoko was not cut out for cage matches. Plus, the finish made Bret look like a complete putz because a) He didn't go for the door right after the bucketshot, and b) He lost a race to the fattest wrestler in the company. Think about it. (David)

Gorilla signed off.

Overall over-analysis: Bret and Shawn could only do so much by themselves. That's my opinion of not only this video, but the early-90s WWF as a whole. The best match here was the tag with Razor & Jannetty vs. Michaels & Diesel, and like the Metallica ballad says, "Nothing Else Matters." And, come on, people: TWO fucking reverse-decision finishes back-to-back? That's the dealbreaker.

This Observer's Thumb....is slightly down.

This review is dedicated to the memory of John Arnold. We'll never forget you, buddy.

-HDS-

(Match dates courtesy of www.prowrestlinghistory.com)

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TWF FLASHBACK

November 2006

SATIRE: DISCONTINUED WWE XMAS PRODUCTS!

by Sean Carless

With Christmas just around the corner, what better way to spend your few remaining dollars (left over after the seemingly infinite line-up of fucking pay-per-views ) then on the following "quality WWE merchandise!" After all, if they don't move this stuff, and fast, stockholders just might get time to figure out what "plummeting domestic buyrates" means!... and well, I don't think they need to tell you what that means! (Seriously. They're not telling you. Everything is fine! Ahem.).