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 Welcome To The Vault! In This Edition, Harry Simon Goes Back To Yesteryear To Bring Us Best Of The WWF: Volume 1!


Coliseum Video: BEST OF THE WWF, VOLUME 1

Approx running time: 90 min

Approx time period covered: 1980 – 1984

Released: 1985

Host: Vince McMahon


Vince opened this, the first in what was to be the WWF’s flagship video series.  Vince gave us a preview of what was to come.


A good pre-match promo aired with Hogan and Andre.  Hogan said that people who know Andre personally call him “Boss,” which was a shoot.  Andre used to call all the boys “Boss” backstage, so they called him “Boss” back as a token of respect.  Both teams were shown backstage doing the long walk to the ring, passing McMahon in the hallway.  Murdoch said something to Vince, and Studd playfully punched Vince in the chest, which made all four of them almost break character and start laughing.


1) Hulk Hogan & Andre The Giant b Big John Studd & Dick Murdoch & Adrian Adonis in a 3-on-2 handicap match [7/15/84, clipped].  Hogan and Andre were crazy over.  Adonis was the best worker of the match, taking enough bumps for all five of them.  Andre eventually got the hot tag and the good guys cleaned house.  Andre chased Studd away from the ring, leaving Hogan & Andre vs. The Wrecking Crew.  Andre pinned Murdoch after a big boot.  This was a typical 80s match in that it wasn’t the best pure wrestling out there, but everything was so over, the fans didn’t care.  (Mike)


Another pre-match interview aired, this time with Moolah and Albano.  Albano made a goof when he said Moolah had held the Women’s title for 12 years, but she corrected him (it was 27 years).  Albano caught himself in a great save by selling it with a huge mark-out for Moolah, as if he were now even more impressed with her than before.  Moolah couldn’t help but break character a little and laugh at Albano hamming it up.


2) Wendi Richter (w/ Cyndi Lauper & David Wolf) b The Fabulous Moolah (w/ Capt. Lou Albano) to win the Women’s title [7/23/84, clipped].  This was the peak of Lauper’s career, and she got an insane pop when introduced.  The rub from Lauper helped make Richter arguably the second-most-over performer in the whole company at this point.  Pro Wrestling Illustrated even ran a famous mid-80s headline that asked “Is Wendi Richter More Popular Than Hulk Hogan?”  This was another 80s match, in that it wasn’t all that great a technical bout, but goddamn, was it ever over.  Weird visual spot as Richter caught Moolah’s legs in the ropes, leaving her hanging upside down.  Richter held Moolah and Lauper hit her with something right in front of the referee.  It was almost sad as most of the ringside photographers were totally focused on Lauper, completely ignoring the match in the ring.  Moolah played the bully late in the match, having so much fun with Richter that she refused to put her away.  Finish saw Moolah give Richter a weak belly-to-back suplex, to put both sets of shoulders on the mat, but Richter lifted her right shoulder at two, so Moolah pinned herself.  I so hate that spot.  On commentary, Gorilla said that Richter kicked back off the turnbuckles (which she didn’t).  Deafening pop for the announcement that Richter was the new champ.  Moolah dropkicked the ref and put the boots to him in frustration.  Don’t you think Richter should have been put over just a little stronger if this was the match that was supposed to make her career?  Yeah, me too.  (Mike)


3) Gorilla Monsoon b Baron Mikel Scicluna via CO [?/?/76].  This was the 46-second squash that served as a backdrop to the famous Gorilla-Muhammad Ali angle.  Before the match began, the ring announcer introduced Ali in the front row to a good pop.  I believe this is the part where I mention that Ali has gone on record saying that wrestling legend Gorgeous George was a big influence on his own larger-than-life persona.  BMS looked like an evil Mr. Rogers from a parallel universe.  Gorilla was introduced as the “All-Asiatic champion” to a huge pop.  BMS attacked Gorilla before the bell, but Gorilla no-sold and knocked BMS out of the ring with a chop.  After BMS had bumped over the top rope, Ali went nuts and started pointing at Monsoon.  Correctly assessing that he had been totally upstaged, BMS did the “F this” spot and walked away for the countout.  Ali took off his shirt and charged the ring.  Ali threw some light jabs at Monsoon, who casually swatted them away.  Well, he tried to, anyway.  Even when he wasn’t really trying, Ali tapped Monsoon once or twice.  Monsoon picked up Ali in an airplane spin and the crowd exploded.  A young Vince was doing the world’s worst Howard Cossell impression when he interviewed Monsoon at ringside.  Monsoon said Ali didn’t know a wristlock from a wristwatch and insisted that a boxer with a “few lousy jabs” was no match for a wrestler.  Tell it to Bart Gunn, buddy.  A white-hot angle fondly remembered by many as one of the best celebrity angles in wrestling history.  (Waldo)


4) Jimmy Snuka b Bobby Bass [?/?/84, clipped].  Good, hot TV squash with “Superfly” Snuka in his prime.  Bass’ back was just plain frightening.  Not only was it hairy (think A-Train plus Dutch Mantel, multiplied by Miguel Perez Jr.), but for some unholy reason, every time he came off the ropes, they left a pale stripe across his back.  The roof came off the place for the “Superfly” splash finisher.  (Waldo)


Special feature: The infamous “Piper’s Pit” with Jimmy Snuka aired.  This was perhaps the best promo of Piper’s career, and that covers some serious ground.  Piper was incredible in berating Snuka and taunting him with pineapples and bananas.  Snuka asked, “Are you making fun of me?”  Piper replied “No sir,” then hit him with a coconut in one of the most famous angles ever.  Piper proceeded to mash a banana in Snuka’s face and whip him with his belt.  Snuka slowly got to his feet at which point Piper skedaddled.


5) Roddy Piper b Jimmy Snuka via CO [MSG, 8/25/84].  One of the greatest feuds of the 80s, period.  Both guys were amazing as their respective wildman characters, and they had the crowd in the palms of their hands all the way through.  Piper was particularly hysterical mocking Snuka’s “barking.”  Piper did a great blade job in this match.  Awesome finish as Snuka came off the top with a flying bodypress, but Piper was positioned to where Snuka essentially hotshotted himself on the top rope.  With his last ounce of strength, Piper bounced Snuka over the top rope, setting up the countout finish.  Great brawl of a match and the psychology was out of this world.  (Kerry)


6) Cobra b The Black Tiger to win the vacant Jr. Hvt title [MSG 12/28/84, clipped].  Wow.  Amazing all-action match that started fast and never let up for a minute.  While choppy in spots, these two clicked great together.  Cobra controlled most of the match, with Tiger playing the lionheart.  Highspot of the match was Cobra hitting Tiger with a running tope through the ropes that took the crowd’s breath away.  Finish saw Cobra reverse a tombstone piledriver and hit a top-rope senton for the pin.  Slowly but surely, the crowd was won over, and they popped big for the finish.  Even in clipped form, this match was so far ahead of its time, it was scary.  (Kerry)


The low point of the video was a series of skits where Hulk Hogan trained Mean Gene Okerlund for their upcoming match as a tag team.  Hogan forced Gene to lift weights, drink raw eggs, and give him piggyback rides.


7) Hogan & Gene Okerlund b George Steele & Mr. Fuji [8/26/84, clipped].  Horrible match.  Okerlund played the coward, with Hogan doing 99% of the work.  Think about how truly horrific that statement is.  Finish saw Okerlund stop Fuji from using the salt, allowing Hogan to send Fuji into Okerlund’s boot.  Fuji sold it like he had been shot.  Hogan slammed Okerlund on top of Fuji and PLACED HIS HAND DIRECTLY ON OKERLUND’S BUTT FOR THE PINFALL!  Afterwards, Gene and Hulk hugged, posed, and did the hustle together.  And they let children see this?  (kevin)  [Note: This match also aired on Wrestling’s Most Embarrassing Moments.]


8) Bruno Sammartino b Larry Zbyszko by DQ [2/?/80].  This was Zbyszko’s breakout angle, where he turned heel on his mentor Sammartino.  This started as the classic, squeaky-clean teacher vs. student scientific match.  Sammartino kept getting the better of Zbyszko, which had Zbyszko doing a slow burn.  They would tie up, Zbyszko would get off a hold, which Sammartino would reverse, and when Zbyszko couldn’t counter Sammartino, Sammartino would release the hold, almost out of pity.  Zbyszko became more and more frustrated as the match went on, thinking Sammartino was deliberately humiliating him.  As Sammartino spun around to escape a hammerlock, he accidentally pitched Zbyszko out of the ring and acted like he was genuinely sorry.  Sammartino held the ropes open for Zbyszko to re-enter the ring, but Zbyszko snapped and kicked Sammartino in the gut and started punching and kicking him (which is what heels did to faces for heat back then).  Zbyszko shoved the referee to the mat and attacked Sammartino with a a chair.  Sammartino did maybe the sickest juice job of his career (!), with crimson literally pouring off Bruno’s nose and pooling on the mat.  SUPER heat on Zbyszko, as Bruno’s fans were ready to lynch the guy.  I really enjoyed this match, not just because of the great angle, but because both men actually wrestled and counter-wrestled.  A true classic, featuring one of the greatest, most effective heel turns ever.  (Kerry)


A good, but spooky promo came next.  Bruno had just completed his official weigh-in in an angle to build to a Sammartino-Zbyszko cage match at Shea Stadium.  The “good” part came when Bruno cut one of his great “everyman” promos.  The “spooky” part came when Vince mentioned that the doctor had checked out Sammartino and found that he was in tip-top condition.  The doctor’s name was George Zahorian.  Zahorian would eventually go down in an infamous steroid trial in the early 90s that saw several wrestlers testify that Dr. Z was a vending machine for steroids.


9) Sammartino (w/ Arnold Skaaland) b Zbyszko in the famous Shea Stadium cage match [8/9/80, clipped].  This was the famous Shea Stadium match.  Sammartino was at his fiery best here, going postal on Zbyszko, who bladed early on.  The picture froze on a shot of Sammartino smashing Zbyszko’s face into the cage.  Cool effect.  Zbyszko low-blowed Sammartino and went for the cage door, but Sammartino dragged him back in the ring.  Zbyszko threw Sammartino into the cage a couple times and tried to climb out, but Bruno yanked him backwards off the top rope.  Zbyszko tried a second climb, but this time Sammartino slammed him off the top rope.  The later story had Zbyszko working over Sammartino’s right arm.  Sammartino played a great linoheart, fighting with one bloody arm.  Good psychological finish with Sammartino throwing Zbyszko into the cage at will before flinging sweat on Zbyszko and storming out the cage door.  Zbyszko did a blade job by the end.  Zbyszko was exasperated, and grudgingly raised Sammartino’s arm after the match.  A very good match in its own right, with the emotion and atmosphere putting everything over the top.  (Kerry)


All the clipped matches were explained by a disclaimer after the credits which read:  “The wrestling matches on this cassette have been edited to maximize their entertainment.  Careful preservation of the spirit and integrity of the matches has been maintained.”  As the years went by, the WWF would largely abandon this practice in favor of showing matches in their entirety, which was a double-edged sword for obvious reasons.


Overall over-analysis:  The WWF kicked off their longest-running home video series with a bang.  This tape set the standard for “anthology” wrestling videos, showing everyone how it was done.  The only minus was the Hogan/Okerlund nonsense, but that pile of steph didn’t last too long.  Piper/Snuka and Sammartino/Zbyszko were two of the best angles in company history, and the Monsoon/Ali angle was cutting edge for its time.  It was also good to showcase the biggest stars of the day, even if their matches weren’t exactly classics (Hogan, Andre, Studd, Richter, Moolah).  Last but not least, Cobra-Tiger was light years ahead of its time, and that match reason alone makes this tape a must-rent.


Grade: A-




(Match dates courtesy of www.prowrestlinghistory.com)


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November 2006


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.).