Approx running time: 2 hrs 20 min
Approx time period covered: 1992 – 1993
Host: Randy Savage
Savage opened the tape by running down some of the bigger matches. Savage said he’d be teaming up with his “space cowboy friend,” Bret Hart, in a tag match. Strangely enough, nine years later, Bret told a WWA PPV audience that “The Space Cowboy” Randy Savage had no-showed a live event (2/24/02). Probably one of those damn insider jokes.
1) Jim Duggan beat IC champion Shawn Michaels by CO so Michaels retained the title [4/26/93, Raw at Manhattan Center]. The psychology was there as Duggan had the crowd chanting “USA,” and Michaels hilariously yelled for the fans to keep it down because he couldn’t concentrate with all the noise. Michaels’ star was on the rise as he bumped his ass off and made Duggan look like a million bucks. This match aired live on Monday Night Raw in mid-1993, but the commentary was re-dubbed over with Jim Ross and Bobby Heenan. In an interesting moment, the camera cut away to Heenan ranting about something at ringside (during the initial live broadcast). Ross asked him what he was yelling about, and Heenan said he was shouting at the director who “can’t get anything right.” Clever and funny. Michaels tried to bail, but Duggan grabbed him, threw him over his shoulder, and carried him up the steps and back into the ring. This was easily Duggan’s best WWF match in years, probably since his 1989 feud with Randy Savage over that stupid crown. Finish saw Michaels bail through the crowd and take the countout after Duggan hit the three-point-stance clothesline. Duggan beat the count back in, then cut an angry promo saying that he couldn’t beat the Michaels if he kept running away. Fans chanted “take the belt.” The way this played out on TV, Duggan did a sitdown strike in the ring until then-President Jack Tunney phoned in and ordered a lumberjack rematch for the IC gold. That match airs later on the tape, and why they didn’t logically put it right after this setup match is a mystery to me. (David)
A cute “Unbelievable” vignette aired with a loudmouthed guy talking trash about various wrestlers. Naturally, they beat the hell out of him. The segment closes with the guy in bandages and casts innocently asking “Was it something I said?” The “Unbelievable” skits were fun and did a good job of getting the WWF guys over as larger-than-life superstars who were great athletes to boot.
2) Ric Flair DCO Tatanka [11/23/92]. This was a tricky one, as they were doing an undefeated streak with Tatanka, yet Flair was pushed as “A-plus-list,” so he couldn’t do a job to ‘Tanka. Anyway, this wasn’t a classic, but it was a good, solid match. You could tell that Tatanka was learning just from being in there with Flair. Finish saw Flair hit a crossbody that knocked them both over the top rope for the DCO. Flair blindsided Tatanka with a knee to the back and put him in a figure-four at ringside. Um, why would a figure-four hurt more at ringside on the blue mats than actually in the ring? Curt Hennig power-walked down to ringside and scared off Flair. Tatanka offered to shake Hennig’s hand, but Mr. P left him hanging. What a jerk. I’m glad he’s dead. (David)
Back to Savage in the studio. Savage said that he understood why Tatanka was reluctant to shake Hennig’s hand. Nice to see that you’re paying attention, Macho.
3) Hulk Hogan & Brutus Beefcake (w/ Jimmy Hart) beat The Beverly Brothers [3/8/93]. It was kinda weird that the graphics for this match listed Hogan & Beefcake as “The Mega-Maniacs” instead of “Hulk Hogan & Brutus Beefcake,” as the latter has more name value. It makes me wonder if they really were going to run with the Maniacs as Tag champs until Hogan decided he wanted another singles World title run. Yes, that’s a Dale Gribble-style conspiracy theory, but nothing’s out of the question when Hogan is involved. This was every Hogan tag match you’ve ever seen, except there weren’t any world class workers like Terry Funk or Randy Savage to carry the red and yellow load. Strange finish saw Hogan hit Beau (Wayne Bloom) with Hart’s megaphone for the pin. What, Hogan can’t beat Beau Beverly with the Hogan finish? WTF? Not good, but not as bad as both Hogan and Bruti would become. The crowd popped for Hogan’s post-match celebration, yet there was an almost shocking lack of heat for the actual match itself. Not “shocking” because the match sucked, but “shocking” because fans were obviously burned out on Hogan, yet this match made it on the tape anyway. (Mike)
Special Feature: Superstar Profile on Bam Bam Bigelow & Luna. What would you expect here? A collection of some of Bammer’s greatest matches? A career retrospective, featuring Bigelow single-handedly fighting off Andre The Giant, King Kong Bundy, and The One Man Gang at the inaugural Survivor Series main event? Nah, this was a hokey vignette with Bigelow and his “main squeeze” Luna Vachon talking about themselves on a boat. Yawn.
4) Curt Hennig pinned Papa Shango [6/29/93]. One word, and it rhymes with “pouring.” Finish saw Hennig use the Perfectplex for the pin after Shango missed a diving headbutt. This was one of the worst Hennig matches I’ve ever seen in the WWF…and I don’t blame HIM. (Chris)
Savage is back in the studio pushing around the poor crew and basically, preventing them from getting any real work done. What a jerk.
Next up was my favorite “Unbelievable” vignette. It was set to a black-and-white Japanese monster movie, with a city full of Japanese people panicking and running from something. Townspeople looked to the skyline and all hell broke loose. Finally one of them shouted (in typical Japanese monster movie voice-over dubbing, natch) “It’s YOKO-ZOOOOOOOOOOOOONA!” People fled in panic, yelling “YOKO-ZOOOOONA! AIEEEEE!” A giant Yokozuna loomed over the city from behind a mountain range. This f’n ruled.
6) The Bushwhackers & Tiger Jackson beat The Beverlys & Little Louie in a mixed midget match [3/7/93]. Oh hell, do you really need me to tell you how this stinker unfolded? I should hope not, so I’ll just say it ended when the ‘Whackers placed the future Dink on the top rope, and he splashed Louie for the pin. Now let us never speak of this crappy match ever again. (Chris)
Savage reminded us about the Duggan-Michaels situation and segued into the lumberjack rematch.
7) IC champion Michaels beat Duggan by DQ in a lumberjack rematch to retain the title [Clipped; 5/10/93, Raw at Manhattan Center]. During Duggan’s intro, he left the ring and sucker-punched Yokozuna (who was one of the lumberjacks). The way this angle played on when it was initially broadcast, Hennig attacked Michaels outside the arena and beeled him onto a car hood. To wit, Michaels came out on crutches and tried to weasel out of the match. Hennig threw Michaels in the ring and Michaels jumped around and kicked at the ropes, momentarily forgetting he was supposed to be injured. Heenan yelled “It’s a miracle!” Predictable, but still pretty funny. Duggan took over early and gave Michaels an Oklahoma Stampede style bodyslam. Again, Michaels totally made this match by bumping all over the place for Hacksaw. Finish saw Bam Bam Bigelow distract referee Bill Alfonso so Michaels could throw Duggan out of the ring, where Yoko squashed him with the world’s biggest legdrop. Yoko heaved Duggan’s carcass back in the ring, and Michaels placed a foot on Duggan’s chest in a pin attempt. Hennig ran-in and broke up the pin for the DQ. The predictable clustershmazz ensued with all the lumberjacks in the ring until Duggan grabbed his 2x4 and cleared the ring. Their first match was actually better, but this one was still enjoyable. (David)
Special feature: “Wrestling Lessons with The Steiner Brothers.” This was a bit where the Steiners talked about themselves and how great their signature moves are. Rick and Scott rolled around on the grass outside an arena, interspersed with clips of their various highspots. Nothing special, but it was produced well, and all the clips made the Steiners look like killers.
8) The Natural Disasters beat Money Inc. (w/ Jimmy Hart) to win the Tag Title [7/20/92]. It’s almost too easy to point out that kooky Coliseum commentary, as Jimmy Hart was back to the evil “Mouth Of The South” despite being Hogan’s babyface manager earlier in the video, but I will. This is an example of good commentary saving a not-so-good match, as Heenan’s comedy was on the money and J.R. played off The Brain to perfection. A strange spot saw DiBiase hide the tag rope in his trunks, which Heenan explained by saying “I believe the rope in his tights came loose, so he needed another one.” Heenan was the best, wittiest color man ever. This was a mediocre, by-the-numbers match, but DiBiase was still great. Finish saw IRS accidentally clobber DiBiase with his loaded briefcase, and Earthquake dropped a big elbow for the pin. HUGE pop for the title change, as this was back before belts changed hands several times a week. (Mike)
9) World champion Randy Savage & IC champion Bret Hart beat Flair & Michaels (w/ Hennig & Sherri) [7/20/92]. Ah, here we go. All it takes is one buried treasure to make an otherwise unspectacular video worthwhile. More Coliseum continuity as Hennig accompanied Flair to the ring, despite feuding with him earlier in the video. I can’t believe Jim Ross didn’t add tension to the mix by bringing up the old angle where Bret screwed Savage in an IC title match against The Honky Tonk Man on Saturday Night’s Main Event. Just kidding. Watching old Bret vs. Shawn matches are so strange, yet they always deliver. Michaels was hysterical mocking Bret after getting the best of him in an exchange. Bret blind-tagged Savage, who laid out both heels with clotheslines. Exceptional psychology as Flair and Savage engaged in a slap-fight. Bret and Michaels were even great just standing on the apron, selling shots to their partners as if they were hit themselves. Bret worked over Shawn’s arm and Sherri was having kittens at ringside. Savage kicked out of a figure-four attempt, but Michaels ran-in and hit a superkick, allowing the heels to take over on Macho. Michaels dominated Savage for a while, and it was matches like this that first established Michaels as a World title threat, because it “proved” that he could hang in there with the best of them. Savage caught Flair on the top rope and slammed him off (Flair never learns), and Bret hot-tagged-in and looked like a million bucks (American), unloading on both heels. Michaels broke up a Bret pin on Flair, and Savage reverse-rolled-up Michaels for a near fall. Sherri jumped up on the apron, so Savage whipped Michaels into Sherri, then schoolboyed HBK for the pin. Excellent match. This was a shining example of just how good the WWF could be in the early-90s as each guy stepped it up a notch just to keep up with the other three. Everyone shined, yet no one hogged the spotlight. Every little aspect of this match was great, from the managers, to the commentary, to all the various interactions. This match alone makes GGG a must-rent. (Kerry)
The video closed with a final segment wherein Savage celebrated the tag win with the Coliseum crew. No official sign-off, but that’s not terribly important. The tape just kinda ended cold.
Overall over-analysis: Three good HBK matches, culminating with an excellent all-star main event. Flair-Tatanka was filler, but they could do a lot worse. Both Beverlys matches sucked (especially the one with the midgets), as did Hennig-Shango and Undertaker-Repo. Disasters-Money was a mediocre match saved by great commentary and a tremendous pop. The bad stuff wasn’t really that bad, while the good stuff totally put it over the top. The tag match main event is a modern-day classic that holds up just as well 10 years later. GGG is well worth checking out.
This Observer’s Thumb…………….is up.
All match dates courtesy of www.prowrestlinghistory.com
THE TWF "MENTAL WELLNESS TEST!"
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