Welcome To The Vault!
In This Edition, Harry Simon Goes Back To Yesteryear To Bring Us Best Of The WWF: Volume 2!
BEST OF THE WWF, VOLUME 2
Approx running time: 80 min
Approx time period covered: 70s
– early 80s
Host: Gorilla Monsoon
1) Adrian Adonis
& Dick Murdoch beat Tony Atlas & Rocky Johnson to win the Tag Title [4/17/84]. Good opener. Most of today’s
fans only know Rocky Johnson as the father of today’s Rock, but back in the day, Rock Sr. had amazing charisma and star
power in his own right, and at least in this match, he had the most heat of anyone in the ring. Adonis was only somewhat out
of shape here, but he bumped for the babyfaces like a pro. To be kind, this was the twilight of Murdoch’s prime as a
worker, but good ol’ “Captain Redneck” still had the stuff in this bout (highlighted by an impressive kip-up).
Atlas didn’t have much to do in this match. The “Wrecking Crew” doubled on Atlas until Rock Sr. came bounding
in on the hot tag and cleaned house. The faces then took over until Adonis executed a sloppy reverse-rollup on Rock Sr. for
the pin. Short, but good with great heat and no real lulls. (David)
2) The Magnificent Muraco
pinned Pedro Morales to regain the IC Title [1/22/83]. Another good title match. It’s easy to see why Morales
was such a big star in his day, as he had awesome fire and ring presence. Muraco attacked Morales before the introductions
were over, prompting Morales to “Pedro up” and beat the bejeezus out of Muraco for the first several minutes.
The key point in the match was when Pedro missed a flying knee into the corner and hit said knee on the steel that held the
turnbuckle to the ringpost. Morales spent the rest of the match selling the knee and doing a damn convincing job of selling
that he was in agony (particularly when Morales couldn’t even hold a Boston crab on Muraco). The finish saw Morales’
knee finally give out as Morales attempted a bodyslam. Muraco fell on Morales for the “fluke” pin. A great little
fast-paced match that told a solid story. Both wrestlers played their roles exceptionally well, and today’s guys could
learn a thing from Morales’ selling. (David)
3) Morales drew Killer Kowalski [Clipped; 7/22/74]. Lousy
match, although Gorilla Monsoon was great on the intro commentary, telling the legend of Waldek “Killer” Kowalski
(Monsoon & Kowalski were WWWF Tag champs together). After Monsoon is done, Jesse Ventura calls the rest of the match solo,
which was kind of weird, but he did a good job. Most of the match is built around Morales selling Kowalski’s trademark
stomach-claw, which both Gorilla and Jesse did a great job of getting over. Lame finish as minutes of the claw trigger Morales’
temper. Morales beats the crap out of Kowalski at ringside and starts choking him, at which point the ref calls for the bell.
Not sure if it was a DDQ, TLD, or what. The ring announcer simply announced that it was a “draw.” (Chris)
4) Jamaica Kid & Billy The Kid b Sky Low Low & Little Brutus
in a midget match [JIP/clipped; 8/1/70]. A fun little mess of a match. All the clichéd midget spots are there with
the notable exception of the bite-the-ref-on-the-butt spot (I’m not complaining, mind you). The funniest moment was
when Sky tries to climb to the top rope, but fell off and tumbled down the ropes like a spider monkey. Billy finally pinned
Sky after whipping him into Brutus. The offbeat shenanigans continued after the bell. Weird segment, as they started to show
either the second or third fall of Billy & Jamaica vs. Sky & Brutus, then the tape cut away to the next match altogether.
5) Sky & Brutus beat Joey Russell & Sonny Boy Hayes in another midget match
[JIP/clipped; 70s]. Second verse, same as the first. This time, Brutus pinned SBH by pulling trunks after Sky nailed
SBH from the top rope while the ref was ushering Russell out of the ring. Cheatin’ little bastards! (Waldo)
Chief Jay Strongbow beat Prof. Toru Tanaka by DQ [Clipped; 12/19/77]. Not a good match, but a good look at Strongbow.
Erie atmosphere, as fans shrieked Indian war cries in support of the Chief all through the match. At first, it seemed kind
of cool, then about two minutes in, they gave me a headache. Tanaka wore down Strongbow with a nervehold, but the war cries
prompted a Strongbow comeback, complete with trademark war dance. A frustrated Tanaka went to throw salt at Strongbow, but
the ref stopped and DQ’ed him. Lord Al sounded like he mixed Nyquil with Dayquil with Tylenol PM before announcing this
Special feature: “A WWF Musical Interlude.” Capt. Lou Albano played a soothing
symphony on the piano before the serenity was shattered by Mean Gene singing “Tooti Fruti” on TNT………..with
Hulk Hogan playing bass. Every bit as bad as it sounds and then some.
7) IC champion Tito Santana TLD Paul Orndorff so Santana retained
the title [9/1/84]. This stole the show. In his heyday, Orndorff was one hell of a worker, and for that matter, so
was Santana. Production values were about ten years ahead of their time, as the slo-mo replay of an inverted atomic drop made
it look like Orndorff crushed Santana’s spine, with Vince selling it huge. Brutal, and all the more amazing that such
a simple move can be sold so big as a killer. In another “future spot,” Orndorff played to the crowd by doing
the Rob Van Dam thumbs thing. Surreal. Orndorff had the crowd in the palm of his hand as he was bombarded by “Paula”
chants. Likewise, Santana was great as a lionheart, as the crowd lived and died with his hope spots and near-falls. Santana
was even getting big pops for a crossbody as the match went on. Another great spot saw Santana kick out of an Orndorff cover
with such force that he flung Orndorff to the floor. Santana’s biggest comeback earned super heat, and the crowd died
just as quickly when Orndorff killed Santana with a clothesline. Orndorff hit a boot to the face and made one last cover,
but Tito was saved by the bell. Two of the greats in their prime, plus Vince was phenomenal on commentary, and the heat slow-built
to the boiling point by the conclusion. Everything a match should be. This shows that with great execution and great selling
(by both the wrestler and the announcer), even basic moves like a clothesline and an atomic drop can be pushed as killers.
This is the best match I’ve ever seen either in, and even the screwy finish didn’t curb my enthusiasm (ditto the
crowd, who actually enjoyed Orndorff throwing a tantrum at the decision). Simply outstanding. (Kerry)
feature: “Surprise Endings.” This was a collection of clips featuring “surprise” match finishes. I
liked this segment a lot.
A) IC champion Muraco beat Rocky Johnson by DQ to retain the title [3/19/83].
Rock Sr. was on fire and beating the steph out of Muraco until Rock Sr. got fired up and asked a 12-year-old girl if she’d
play strip poker with him. Whoops, wrong Rock Sr. story. I meant to type “…until Rock Sr. got fired up and accidentally
decked the referee for the DQ.” My bad.
B) U.S. champion Bobo Brazil beat Fred Blassie via CO to retain
the title [9/21/64]. Oh man, two of my old favorites and they only show like two minutes. Why couldn’t they
have dropped the Strongbow-Tanaka match and showed this in its entirety? Probably because they hate me. Anyway, clever finish
saw Bobo hit his famous coco-butt (headbutt), knocking Blassie into the ropes where his leg got tied up and Blassie found
himself hanging half-in/half-out of the ring and the ref counted out “The Hollywood Fashion Plate.” Creative and
enjoyable. Charming spots as Bobo hugged the referee and offered to shake Blassie’s hand after the match. When Blassie
accepted the handshake, Bobo hit another coco-butt, flooring Blassie. Blassie took his frustrations out on the referee. Nostalgia
at its finest.
C) Andre The Giant squashed Black Demon, but this picked up after
the match was already over [3/17/81]. As Andre was signing autographs for children around ringside, Demon attacked
him. Andre responded by grabbing Demon by the mask, headbutting him, and beeling him across the ring, yanking the mask right
off his head in the process. Demon grabbed a nearby towel to hide his secret shame and took off. Rick Martel and Tony Garea
ran in the ring to congratulate Andre on ruining poor Demon’s career. Heartless bastards! [Note: This match aired on
Wrestling’s Most Embarrassing Moments.]
D) Tag champions The Heartless Bastards (Rick Martel & Tony
Garea) beat The Moondogs in a Texas death match. Gorilla Monsoon was special referee [2/14/81]. Martel locked Moondog
King in an abdominal stretch and Monsoon prevented Moondog Rex from coming in and breaking the hold. Rex then jumped off the
top and hammered Monsoon with a sledge when his back was turned. Monsoon then Gorilla’ed up and punched Rex out of the
ring. This allowed the Bastards to double on King, who Martel pinned after a double back-bodydrop.
8) Mr. Fuji
& Mr. Saito (w/ Capt. Lou Albano) beat The Heartless Bastards to win the Tag Title [10/13/81]. A fine closer,
as this was another match ahead of its time. Tons of near-falls and highspots leading to the finish. Rick Martel was the Shawn
Michaels of his day in babyface charisma and high-flying. I don’t think he ever lost his smile, though. Martel jumped
off the top rope with a flying bodypress, but Fuji threw a cloud of salt in his face. Martel sold it like it was battery acid,
and Saito pinned him by rolling-through the bodypress. More great 80s heat, as you felt that the fans wanted to lynch Fuji,
Saito, and Albano for doing what they did to Martel. (David)
over-analysis: A choppy video. The Santana-Orndorff match is excellent, and the closing Tag title match is a quite
good, as well. Morales-Muraco and the opening Tag title match are fun matches. The midget stuff is amusing but goes on a bit
too long for my tastes, while the “surprise finishes” segment was thoroughly enjoyable and an early example of
how good WWF production values would become. The low points were Strongbow-Tanaka, Morales-Kowalski, and Mean Gene singing.
The good-to-bad ratio is about 65-35% IMO, and this tape is worth a rent, if only for Santana vs. Orndorff.
Match dates courtesy