Coliseum Video Presents - George “The Animal” Steele
by Scrooge McSuck
- This is the version featured on the old “WWE 24/7” On Demand service, so the kick-ass music used in the early days of Coliseum Video is edited out. Dammit, that’s honest to God ALL I HAD to look forward to. I don’t even know what the licensing issues could be with that. Is Coliseum Video even around anymore? Did they just assume they didn’t own the rights to it and edited in the most generic music they could to cover it up? These are questions we need answers to!
- Gorilla Monsoon is our host. I guess this is from their “Personality Series.” I call it the Junk Drawer. We’re going to look way back into the past, all the way up to the present time. This was released in December of 1987, so… never mind, he didn’t do anything in 1988 of note, so we aren’t missing anything from his babyface WWF run.
(W)WWF World Heavyweight Championship; Steel Cage Match:
Commentary is dubbed in featuring Monsoon and Johnny Valiant. From God knows where… according to the HistoryofWWE.com, this is from the Philadelphia Arena on July 25th, 1970! That 15-foot high cage is more like an 8-foot cage, but kudos to Gorilla for believing the hype. We’re Joined in Progress with Steele putting the boots to Sammartino in the corner. Sammartino’s “hot Italian blood is really flowing” as he does the 1970 version of Hulking Up. Steele tries to escape, but Bruno pulls him down by the trunks and stomps away. He sends Steele to the corner, punishes him a little bit more, and casually walks out the door to pick up the victory at a heavily clipped 2:34. No point in rating this, but it fails in the fact it features Steele mostly getting his ass kicked.
Bruno Sammartino © vs. George “The Animal” Steele:
Gorilla Monsoon vs. George “The Animal” Steele:
Joined in Progress, again, from Madison Square Garden on August 27th, 1973. Vince McMahon (Jr.) is on commentary. Monsoon is selling on the canvas, with Steele stomping at the left arm. Steele pounds away with rights and starts choking, but Monsoon fights back to his feet, sends Steele to the ropes, and slaps on a bear-hug. Steele escapes to create separation. Steele with more choking… or pec rubbing. I don’t even know. Monsoon takes an impressive dive over the top rope, at least for his size and for the era. Steele continues to use a “Foreign object”, which may be of the imaginary type. Monsoon grabs another bear-hug, and again Steele escapes, bopping the Gorilla with the balled up piece of tape that is supposed to be a deadly object. Gorilla knocks it from Steele’s hand and blatantly uses it in front of the referee until chasing Steele out of the ring for the fastest count-out in recorded history, at a clipped 4:50. I’m not going to bother giving this a star-rating either, but at least it gave us the impression of what kind of dastardly (and cowardly) heel Steele used to be, and I always enjoy the brief clips of seeing Gorilla Monsoon in action.
- Now that we’ve seen about 7-minutes of “villainous” George “The Animal” Steele, let us fast forward all the way to January of 1986, and the “lovable beast” era.
George “The Animal” Steele (w/ Lou Albano) vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/ Elizabeth):
From the January 1986 episode of Saturday Night’s Main Event, but taped a few weeks earlier back in December of ’85, so I clearly lied in the previous paragraph. Savage didn’t take long in being put over as a huge dick-hole who mistreats his female manager. Steele flirts with Elizabeth as Savage is distracted with trash-talking ringside fans. Blink and you’ll miss Dean Malenko serving as referee of the match. Steele chases Savage around, sending him to the floor. Lockup into the ropes, and Steele quickly throws Savage over the top rope. He follows, but becomes distracted by the mere presence of Elizabeth. Savage teases coming off the top, but Steele quickly scampers away. Back in the ring Steele puts the boots to Savage. They find themselves on the floor again, and this time Savage uses Elizabeth as a shield. Back in the ring, Steele has his way with a turnbuckle pad and rubs some of the stuffing in Savage’s face. Steele is again distracted, and this time a Macho Man double axehandle is enough to put him down for three at 4:06. *1/2 Mostly angle, and that’s a good thing. Savage quickly leaves the ring and carries Elizabeth across his shoulder away from Steele.
- Courtesy of Tuesday Night Titans, we get to see George “The Animal” Steele visiting a psychiatrist, “Dr. Sigmund Ziff.” This same actor was used in countless segments on TNT, and this is probably one of the more well known sketches featured. They subject Steele to electro-shock therapy, which temporarily allows him to speak elegantly (“How now, brown Cow?”), before further shocks turn him back into the dumbass he is known to be. So far, this one segment of the tape has greatly outlasted anything else featured.
WWF Intercontinental Championship Match:
We’re skipping over WrestleMania 2 (thank goodness) and jumping way ahead to the September 6th, 1986 card held at the Boston Garden. Savage tries an ambush, but Steele catches him with a slam and tosses the Champion over the top rope, to the floor. Steele poses with the belt, a reality nobody in their right mind could’ve wanted. Steele acts goofy, sending Savage to the floor and using Elizabeth as a shield. Savage teases a spot from the top rope, but Steele walks out of range. This script is already familiar. Savage threatens Elizabeth, allowing Steele to attack from behind. He throws Savage in the ring and lifts him up with a double hand choke. Savage pulls something out of his tights and nails Steele in the throat with it. Looked to me like an afro-pick. Steele only sells it for a few seconds, so Savage hits him again. Savage with the double axehandle from the top, but Steele sends Savage out of the ring while kicking out. Savage with a running high knee, but a clothesline is countered with biting. Susan St. James would be proud. Steele throws a chair in the ring and chases Savage some more. Savage rams Steele into the barricade. Steele throws more chairs in the ring, whacks Savage with one, and it’s a DQ at 5:26. * Typical formula from these two. I can’t agree that less is more, especially when the stuff featured was the chicken-shit Memphis heel antics from Savage. That makes Steele winless in FOUR matches on his own Coliseum Video. Savage keeps trying to attack Steele, but is fought off each time, including the turnbuckle stuffing to the face gag. We get some “extended footage”, with Steele ripping apart another turnbuckle with a young fan.
“Macho Man” Randy Savage © (w/ Elizabeth) vs. George “The Animal” Steele:
George Steele & Junkyard Dog vs. Demolition:
From the August 22nd, 1987 card at Madison Square Garden. Demolition had been on the roster for most of 1987, but didn’t have a real program until the short-lived feud involving Billy Jack Haynes, Brady Boone, and Ken Patera. Ax and Smash have more unique face-paint patterns than traditionally used, further reminding me this is pre-Tag Title reigns Demolition. Ax and JYD start with Ax pounding away and planting JYD with a slam. JYD avoids an elbow, returns the poundage, and Steele bites, covering a good portion of his face with makeup. Smash attacks Steele from behind. Whip to the ropes, and a clothesline is countered with biting. JYD goes to the arm, but gets caught in the Demolition corner. Ax with clubberin’ blows and snapmare. JYD escapes a chinlock, but Smash comes in to continue the punishment. Steele keeps running in to distract the referee, allowing Demolition to double-team. JYD and Smash do a terrible collision spot, forcing Lord Alfred Hayes of all people to try and cover it up. Steele gets the tag… but the referee didn’t see it. He gets tossed out by Demolition, so he grabs a chair and we get a DQ finish at 6:11, in favor of Demolition. DUD Nothing to see here. Worthless filler, but I do love odd-ball combinations like this.
- “Mean” Gene Okerlund is on location at the Detroit Zoological Park, looking for George “The Animal” Steele. I don’t know if this is ripped off from Saturday Night’s Main Event or Tuesday Night Titans. I don’t care, either. Steele shouts out various wrestler names when we see different animals (Sheik for Camel, Heenan for the Lemurs, and Bundy for the Hippopotamus). And just like that, we’re done.
George “The Animal” Steele vs. Sika (w/ Kim Chee & Mr. Fuji):
From the September 21st, 1987 card held at Madison Square Garden. Sika is the father of current pushed-to-hard pet project Roman Reigns, and apparently doesn’t remember wrestling is a work and you don’t need to lose your head because your son didn’t win a fake Title in a fake “Sport.” Sika attacks from behind with rights and kicks. Mr. Fuji gets a cheap shot in to earn his daily wages. Sika with choking, and another cheap shot from Fuji. Steele pulls out his classic bunched up tape and we’re supposed to believe it’s a deadly weapon. Steele takes control, using the object to crowd approval. Kim Chee trips Steele up, so Steele gives chase. A chair gets thrown in the ring, recovered by Sika, and he uses it on Steele for the DQ at 3:03. DUD More nothing. Sika continues putting a hurt on Steele, but he quickly recovers and bashes Sika with the heavily padded chair. Steele manages to get his hands on Kim Chee, but fails to unmask him. George Steele, on the George Steele Coliseum Video, FINALLY wins a match after five consecutive losses.
George “The Animal” Steele vs. “King” Harley Race:
A Coliseum Video Exclusive, taped on September 16th, 1987. It wasn’t until 1989 or 1990 where Coliseum Video featured more unused stuff from TV tapings than recycled arena shows and SNME matches, so an “Exclusive” at this point was actually accurate. Bruce Prichard and Mike McGuirk is YOUR odd-ball duo calling the action. Conspicuous by his absence, Bobby Heenan, especially considering this is a TV taping. Steele quickly pounds away on Race in the corner. Race responds, as I wonder if these two combined for 100 years old or not at this point. Race with a piledriver, but a second rope headbutt misses. Whip to the corner, and Race takes his signature bump to the floor (newer fans will recognize it since Triple H has done it for the majority of his career). Race does his see-saw between the ropes spot, ending with him being dumped on the back of his head. Race takes over again with knees. Whip to the ropes, and it’s the biting-the-arm counter, again. They take it to the floor, and Steele gets mad. He brings a chair into the ring and swings wildly, but misses. Hee’s Hercules, and THAT’S a DQ at 4:05? Steele should’ve been DQ’ed already! Scott Casey Lanny Poffo, and the Young Stallions fail to save Steele from punishment, but Bam Bam Bigelow finally sends the heels running. *
- We recycle an old clip from Tuesday Night Tians featuring “Adorable” Adrian Adonis and his new… exotic style of dressing. Here comes George Steele to interrupt and protest on behalf of homophobes everywhere. What the hell was the point of… wait, I know, to fill time. Since Adonis was gone from the company and probably working elsewhere, it was an attempt to make him look like a clown.
George “The Animal” Steele vs. The Honkytonk Man (w/ Jimmy Hart):
Taped from Milwaukee, WI on October 6th 1987, and televised on the October 24th episode of Superstars of Wrestling. Honky is the reigning Intercontinental Champion, but this is non-Title. In today’s era, that would be code for “Champion Jobbing.” Steele bum rushes the ring and chases Honky to the floor. Honky re-etners the ring, and shakes his hips like you wouldn’t believe. Steele chases him around the ring until being trapped in the ropes with a clothesline. Steele escapes and tosses Honky with a double-choke lift. Jimmy Hart trips him up, and now we get another chase sequence. Honky with the mega-phone, and bops Steele with it behind the back of the referee. Steele grabs it, uses it in front of the referee, and it’s a DQ at 1:54. What the hell was the point of putting this on here?
- We get some Mr. Rogers Neighborhood levels of filler, with George Steele tagging along for a tour of the factory that puts together the WWF Ice Cream Bars. You want to know what is sad about this whole thing? Watching the behind the scenes footage of how they fucking make ICE CREAM BARS is much more interesting and entertaining than pretty much everything else featured on this release.
George “The Animal” Steele vs. “Dangerous” Danny Davis (w/ Jimmy Hart):
“Last but not least” my ass… from the June 6th, 1987 card held at the Boston Garden. At least these days, there’s a little thing called “continuity” when it comes to video releases. Note how we just jump around to just fill time, with no rhyme or reason for any of it. There’s still 12-minutes of run time, and this is the last match. They can’t possibly be insane enough to make it last nearly that long... the bell never rings, which is always a good sign. Davis spends the first few minutes hiding from the Animal. Steele finally pulls him in by the hair and bites his face. Crowd still hates Davis with a passion, so they’re super hot for Steele’s hot garbage offense. Davis offers a handshake, but Steele refuses and bites him, instead. We get another chase sequence, ending with Steele biting the ankle. Davis with a “foreign object” to knock the Animal silly. Davis puts the boots to him until Steele counters with a single leg sweep… and more biting. Steele with a series of slams (NINE of them). I guess it’s “Slam City, bitch” time. Davis rolls to the floor and takes the Count-Out at the 9-minute mark. Of all the matches featured this one is the longest? -* I was going to try and avoid keeping this out of negatives, but my goodness, this match sucked.
Final Thoughts: What kind of a creative drought was Coliseum Video’s marketing department in when they came out with tapes dedicated to George “The Animal” Steele and Ken Patera? I can understand videos dedicated to Hulk Hogan, to lesser extents Jake Roberts and Ricky Steamboat, but George Steele? The matches are obviously going to be terrible, that we knew. The only angle worth mentioning is the one where he is infatuated with Elizabeth, and even then, it was so one-dimensional that they could only put two matches with the Macho Man without beating the gimmick dead. The “early days” of the Animal is covered in less than 10-minutes, every match has a garbage finish, and the man who the tape is dedicated entirely to, loses almost every match, and never gets a decisive win over anyone. There’s a long list of bad tapes released by Coliseum Video, but this might be the worst and the least marketable tape I can think of.
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