To The Vault! In This Edition, Harry Simon Goes Back To Yesteryear To Bring Us WWF's Invasion Of The Bodyslammers!
INVASION OF THE BODYSLAMMERS
Approx running time: 2 hrs
Time period covered: 1992 - 1993
Hosts: Lord Alfred Hayes & Reverend Slick & Kamala
Lord Al, Slick, and Kamala opened
from a bowling alley. Well, at least they finally got out of that damn WWF Mania studio. Slick chastised Kamala for coming
to a bowling alley barefoot. But never fear, the Slickster has a pair of bowling shoes for Kamala. Kamala was afraid of them.
A cannibal afraid of shoes? Oh hell.
1) Yokozuna (w/ Mr. Fuji) pinned Earthquake at 3:42 [1/25/93].
Our announce team is Jim Ross, Bobby Heenan, and Randy Savage. Heenan and Savage
argued with each other for most of the tape while Ross ignored them. Heenan explained the salt-throwing ritual was how sumos
purified the ring. Good psychology early. Heenan brought up Quake's legit sumo background. Quake got in a little offense early,
then it was all Yoke. Finish saw Quake get distracted by Fuji, allowing Yoko to avalanche and Banzai drop Quake for the pin.
Heenan and Savage put over how they'd never seen Quake pinned before. Kinda slow paced (surprise), but not bad for a super
heavyweight match. (Mike)
2) The Nasty Boys DDQ The Beverly Brothers at 6:45 [12/14/92].
I wish these teams had each other's pushes. The Bevs were criminally underrated,
while the Nastys were the most overrated, overpushed team of the 90s. When the Nastys became the fourth tag team in history
to have won both the WWF and NWA/WCW Tag Titles, that was officially the end of tag team championships meaning a damn thing.
(The first three were The Road Warriors, the Steiners, and Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson.) As for this match, the Bevs
did what they could. Knobs was isolated until Sags finally got the hot tag and faceplanted both Bevs. Beau broke up Sags'
pin, leading to the four-man brawl spot. Both Knobs and Beau shoved down the ref for the DDQ. Complete waste of time. (Chris)
Kamala is still barefoot. Thank God they updated me. I was worried for a second
there. Lord Al bought Kamala his own ball, which was painted up like the man himself. As Slick tried to instruct Kamala how
to properly finger his ball (this is SO wrong), Lord Al threw to the next match by calling Razor Ramon a "handsome Latino."
Jeez, first he buys gifts for wrestlers, now he's hitting on them. Whatever happened to journalistic objectivity? Lord Al,
you sicken me.
3) The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) beat Razor Ramon via CO at 5:04
The announcers were talking about the bowling skits, so for the first time in Coliseum
history that I know of, there was actually internal continuity within a video. Razor not only didn't back down from UT, but
he started the mindgames of the match and took the fight to UT. It was obvious that they had big plans for Razor, who was
truly unique in that he didn't fit either of the two typical heel molds (the chickenshit and the monster). Even Savage put
over Razor for going toe-to-toe with Taker like no one before. Razor really took over after crotching UT on the top rope.
RR then dropped five elbows on the deadman, then swiped the urn from Bearer. Razor laid out UT with an urnshot for a nearfall.
UT made his comeback with a nice chokeslam, causing Razor to effectively give up and take a powder for the countout. Even
though it was a quickie with a screwjob finish, this was a very good outing that got over both guys in their characters (especially
4) Bam Bam Bigelow pinned Typhoon at 7:29 [1/5/93].
Heenan said this was the fourth match, and there had already been over 18,000
pounds of wrestlers in the ring. Heenan further put over this super heavyweight match by saying that there's nothing a big
guy likes better than beating another big guy. The lads did the "bumper cars" bit, leading to BBB launching a crossbody, but
Ty caught him and powerslammed him. Awesome visual that made both the crowd and the announcers pop. They danced a bit, culminating
with Ty bodyslamming Bammer again for a pop. BBB worked over Ty's back so Ty failed at a suplex, yet Bam hit a suplex of his
own for another big man big pop. BBB wore down Ty with a reverse chinlock. Bigelow hit a forearm with such impact, he knocked
himself backwards, but he saved himself by rebounding off the ropes and hitting a diving headbutt. Heenan put that over huge,
and rightly so. Bigelow never gets the credit he deserves for being a consummate pro and a great on-the-fly worker. Bigelow
picked up Ty for a slam, but collapsed. Ty started his comeback, but backed off on the "tidal wave" splash. Ty set up BBB
for an avalanche, but Bam met him with a boot and a clothesline. One flying headbutt later, BBB cleanly pinned Ty. This hasn't
been a successful video for The Natural Disasters. A very good super-heavy match, but more importantly, a great example of
guys working a smart match within their abilities. Think about it, peeps: They had people on their feet for bodyslams and
suplexes. This is worth checking out not for just a good match, but a great learning tool. A buried treasure. (Kerry)
Back to the lanes, where Slick legit bowled a strike. Well, I guess the pins could've
been gimmicked. You can't put anything past these guys. Lord Al was suspiciously absent, probably cleaning himself up after
the Razor match.
Up next was the "Repo Cam," a 10-minute skit that saw Repo Man bully a guy into
following him around with a camcorder for a day. This also included Repo's intro vignettes. Lousy gimmick, but Barry Darsow
was so damn fun to watch, Repo is one of the greatest guilty pleasures in WWWFE history.
5) Shawn Michaels (w/ Sherri) beat IC champion Bret Hart via CO at
8:52 so Bret retained the title [4/29/92].
Ah, Lady Luck has seen fit to give us hand relief. The two best workers of the
90s never fail to impress. Bret kept outmaneuvering Shawn, sending the cocky HBK into a hissyfit. Shawn took over, but Bret
blocked his short suplex (remember that thing?) and started his comeback. Bret started the Five Moves Of Doom, then caught
Shawn in a sleeper. Both guys tumbled outside, and Sherri grabbed Bret's leg. Shawn shoved Bret off the apron, sending him
chest-first into the rail. Bret once broke his sternum on the same move during a match against Dino Bravo. Bret was counted
out, and what followed was a horribly stupid bit where Shawn and Sherri celebrated with the belt, then acted surprised when
they informed him that the gold couldn't change hands on a countout. Michaels decked the ref in frustration. Bret gave Shawn
a beltshot and sent him running. Aside from the stupid bit where Shawn thought he won the belt, everything they did looked
great and was timed perfectly. (Kerry)
Slick hit another stock-footage strike. Okay, now he's just showing off. He's a
jive soul bro, a jive soul bro and he's always lying to his friends. He's a jive soul bro, a jive soul bro, and he never gets
nothin' in the end.
6) Doink The Clown beat Kamala (w/ Reverend Slick) via CO at 3:20
I was somewhat disappointed that Heenan didn't crack the obvious joke about how
Slick and Kamala got from the bowling alley to the arena so quickly. Doink carried a big gift box to the ring, which he used
to taunt Kamala. Doink started working over everyone's favorite cannibal. This was what made Evil Doink such a great character;
a clown who wrestled scientifically. Still though, this was one of the worst things I've ever seen. Absolutely zero heat,
as fans hated babyface Kamala. Like George Steele, he was a retard who couldn't win a match to save his life. Kamala chased
Doink around the ring until Doink presented him with the present. Kamala opened the box (which was empty), and got counted
out as Doink scampered back in the ring. Savage said, "It doesn't matter if it was a million dollars in cash! Doink beat ya!"
Hey, speak for yourself, Machole Man. I would happily do a countout job for a cool mil. Kamala got his heat back by chopping
and splashing Doink after the match, finally chasing him away from the ring. This was easily one of the worst matches in Coliseum
history, but at least it was short and Doink didn't think he won the IC Title. (kevin)
7) Undertaker (w/ Bearer) tombstoned Papa Shango at 6:29 [12/14/92].
Going back to their mid-south roots as Master Of Pain (UT) and Soultaker
(Shango), these two are legit buddies, which is why the many gimmicks of Charles Wright always found their way back to another
match with the deadman. Remember their casket match at SummerSlam 96? Probably not. Notice how I haven't talked about this
match at all? Well, there's a reason for that. I dunno, at least it ended the streak of countouts. (Chris)
Slick was schooling Kamala in the nuances of knocking the pins over. After the
Doink thing, you'd think he would have been telling him to start winning some damn matches. Did Kamala win ANY non-squash
bouts as a babyface? Anyway, Kamala went running down the lane, with Slick chasing after him. Oh damn, it finally happened.
My side split.
8) Razor won a 16-man battle royal. 12:36 was shown, as there was
one commercial break when this initially aired [Raw, 2/1/93]. Sweet jerking Jesus, this match looked like someone
cracked open www.wrestlecrap.com and spilled out the contents into this ring. The participants were Razor, Michaels, Bob Backlund,
Typhoon, "Iron" Mike Sharpe, Typhoon, Owen Hart, "Birdman" Koko B. Ware, Tatanka, Skinner, "El Matador" Tito Santana, Damien
Demento, former Red Rooster "Terrific Terry Taylor, The Berzerker, Kim Chee (Steve Lombardi, IIRC) and Kamala. When this originally
aired, the gimmick was that the competitors refused to enter the match if Giant Gonzalez was in it. See, it was all a big
political conspiracy to hold down Double-G. Bacon was right. The main storyline here had Kamala chasing Kim Chee all over
the Manhattan Center. Does that tell you anything? It should. Anyway, it came down Santana & Tatanka vs. Michaels &
Razor. Ah, so THAT'S how the Clique started. They joined forces to counter the political power wielded by the Indian and the
bullfighter. Suddenly, everything makes sense. The faces double-punted HBK over the top, leaving Razor to get double-teamed
by two babyfaces. Yeah, that's always a good idea. But ho, what's this? Gonzalez did a stalk-in. Razor scooted out under the
bottom rope, and GG pitched out both Tatanka and Santana. GG then got bored and left (at this point, I wish I could) and Razor
was declared the winner as the last man standing. Trivbit: This was the first battle royal on Raw. (Mike)
9) Tatanka pinned Repo Man at 7:41 [10/26/92].
Boring as hell. I'd hoped at least that Heenan would have fired off his line about
how this was the first time he ever saw Tonto beat The Lone Ranger. Tatanka won with his Samoan drop finisher, which has been
called about a hundred different things. ("End of the trail," "wigwam bomb," "papoose to go," etc.) (Chris)
Slick finally has Kamala poised at the lane. Kamala shook his ass, then threw the
ball backwards, sending Slick jumping for higher ground. Is it over yet? I guess we should just thank our various deities
that Kamala was gone before the Macarena craze hit in the mid-90s.
10) Curt Hennig pinned Ric Flair at 10:51 [1/4/93].
Mr P didn't back down and outdid Flair at every turn until the Dirtiest Player
got the drop on him. Flair finally slapped on the figure-four-with-optional-rope-assist. The fans loved it. Jim Ross cried
that it was illegal. Heenan protested that an "illegal" is a "sick bird." Goddamn, Heenan was the man. Hennig did that stupid
"reverse-the-figure-four-by-rolling-onto-his-stomach," which I hate. Both guys limped around. Ross sold that they were going
into the fourth quarter, while the other two argued that Hennig had taken the most punishment. Hennig started the boxing bit,
and Flair went up and down like a bungee-jumping prostitute. Hennig did the ten punches in the corner and backdropped Flair
out of the other corner. All the while, Hennig sold the leg. Everyone says Hennig was a great worker in his day (which he
was), but it doesn't seem like the guy gets credit for being the best sell-man in the biz. When it came to high impact moves,
no one could touch the Flawless One. His sells just teetered on the line between credible and comical, but he never really
crossed over to the embarrassing side. (As opposed to The Rock, who will "sell" a stunner by doing three cartwheels and a
hokey pokey.) Flair made Hennig chase him around the ring for good measure. Finish saw Flair go for a backdrop, but Hennig
hit the Perfectplex for the clean pin. New rule: Don't try to backdrop Curt Hennig. It's like grabbing Owen Hart's foot when
he tries to kick you in the stomach. You just don't do it. No good can come of it. Very good fast-paced match with tons of
great psychology. It's like this match was Coliseum's apology for every other non-Bret, non-Shawn 1990s match to come before.
Slick had all but given up on his man, when at the last minute, Kamala finally
learned how to do it. Of course, by "it," I mean splice in some stock footage of someone bowling a strike. Slick and Kamala
celebrated as Lord Al signed off. And people say there are no happy endings in wrestling.
Overall over-analysis: The less said about bowling, the better.
And hey, I LIKE bowling. UT-Shango and Tatanka-Repo were coma-inducing, but the only truly terrible match was Kamala-Doink.
Everything else was pretty much par for the course. Here's what it comes down to: The announcing was a HUGE plus. The Ross/Heenan/Savage
crew was heaven after years of the Sean Mooney & Lord Al. You'll also take note that as the 90s rolled on, matches got
shorter. Considering this was early-90s WWF, that's actually a good thing. Factor in two matches involving four all-time greats
(Bret-HBK, Flair-Hennig) and pleasant surprises in UT-Razor and Bigelow-Typhoon, and this video is worth checking out.
This Observer's Thumb.......is slightly up.