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Coliseum Video: WWF's Most Unusual Matches
by Scrooge McSuck
- It's time, once again, for more Coliseum Video fun! The next tape following the inaugural Best of the WWF tape was WrestleMania, but that's been reviewed here before, and my feelings are unchanged, so I'm not going to bother doing a redo for that one. As if anyone needed ANOTHER review of that damn show. So... in 1985, the Most Unusual Matches thing was pretty limited, at least when it came to the WWF, so don't expect anything insanely out of the ordinary when it comes to gimmick matches featured in the next two hours.
- Your host of the tape is everyone's favorite color commentary persona that knew how to keep it real, Jesse the Body Ventura.
- WWF Intercontinental Title; Lumberjack Match:
Greg "The Hammer" Valentine © vs. Tito Santana:
Pulled from the March 17th, 1985 card held at Madison Square Garden. Yes, WWF hit the Garden up twice in a two week span, the latter show, of course, being the first WrestleMania. I guess they didn't want too much of the undercard to over-shadow the main event, so we get the money match for the IC Title on the worthless show, and save Valentine vs. JYD for the big one. Go figure. Lumberjacks include Big John Studd, King Kong Bundy, Ricky Steamboat, Junkyard Dog, Rocky Johnson, Terry Gibbs, Charlie Fulton, Jmmy Snuka, and a few others.
Valentine attacks before the bell and clubs away, driving elbows into the top of the head. Santana escapes a chinlock with elbows to the midsection, then comes off the ropes with a huge forearm blow. Santana stomps away, then unloads with rights in the corner. Valentine rolls out to the heels side of the ring, but Ricky Steamboat comes over to toss Valentine into the ring. Santana traps Valentine on the apron and knocks him back to the floor. CLIP to Valentine begging for mercy, but Santana doesn't buy into his sucker move, blocking a boot, then connecting with an atomic drop and knee lift. Valentine heads outside again, but JYD is there to meet him. Back inside, and Santana with mounted punches. Clip to the two exchanging blows, with Santana taking control once again. Santana with a head jerk, then goes for the legs, but Valentine rolls out of the ring. Valentine gets thrown back in, and Santana rams the Hammer's head into the canvas for good measure. Santana comes off the second rope with a forearm to the back of the head, but a cover only gets two. Valentine makes another escape, but gets thrown back inside. Santana goes to work in the corner, but meets the knees on a charge, and Valentine covers for two. Valentine drives a knee into the midsection, and covers for two again. Valentine with a wind-up elbow for another two count. Valentine goes for the legs, and drops a headbutt across the midsection. Valentine stomps away on the previously injured left knee of Santana, then slaps on a single-leg lock. Santana fights free, but he's having a hard time getting to his feet. Valentine tosses Santana out of the ring, but he's helped back in, of course. Valentine heads to the second rope, and comes off with a forearm, followed by a knee drop for a two count. Valentine drags Santana to the middle of the ring and slaps him a few times, before driving a knee into the back of the left knee of Santana. Valentine tries for a Figure-Four, but Santana cradles him for a two count. Valentine with a series of hard forearm blows puts Santana down like a sack of potatoes, then drops an elbow for two. Valentine charges into the corner, but Santana monkey flips him onto the top turnbuckle. Santana with a series of forearms, putting Valentine down. They trade blows, with Santana winning that battle, giving Valentine a chance to topple like a tree. Valentine tries escaping, but Santana won't allow any of it. Santana with a suplex, then a cover for a two count. Santana with a pair of knee drops to the face, then we clip to Santana going for the Figure-Four, but Valentine counters, then rolls out of the ring. Valentine is forced back into the ring, and Santana greets him with a running forearm. Santana with the Figure-Four applied in the center of the ring, but John Studd pulls Valentine to the ropes to force the break (all behind the referee's back). Santana goes for Studd, and gets nailed from behind with a forearm across the back for his troubles. Valentine pounds away, but Santana wants a SLUGFEST! Valentine with a headlock, and a shoulder block sees Valentine fall on top of Santana, and the three count is made at 13:19, allowing Valentine to retain the gold. ***1/4 I've never been a big fan of Lumberjack matches, but these two put on a pretty good outing despite the structure and flow being interrupted to incoorperate the gimmick. Wouldn't have minded this at Wrestlemania instead of JYD/Hammer and Santana/Executioner.
Indian Strap Match:
Chief Jay Strongbow vs. Greg "The Hammer" Valentine:
From the July 30th, 1979 card held at Madison Square Garden, and talk about taking it back in time. We go from pre-Wrestlemania to pre 80's, but we're still focusing our attentions on Greg Valentine. This was the first strap match held at Madison Square Garden, so there you go. I know because Jesse Ventura told us. Valentine attacks before the bell and pounds away. Valentine puts the strap on his wrist and continues to pound away on Strongbow. Valentine chokes Strongbow with the strap and continues pummeling his opponent, busting him open in the process. Strongbow starts doing the saddest looking war-dance I've ever seen, but the crowd is eating it up with a spoon. Strongbow starts whipping the crap out of Valentie with the strap, prevents him from leaving the ring, and whips him some more. CLIP! Valentine knocks Strongbow out of the ring with an elbow, then gets pulled hard into the side of the ring. Strongbow grabs an ankle and they trade blows. Strongbow rams Valentine into the security rail, and then into the ring post. Strongbow tries climbing into the ring, but Valentine starts choking him with the strap. They trade blows again, but the referee gets in the way and kicked in the nuts in the process. Suddenly, a handful of wrestlers hit the ring and attempt to break things up. Tito Santana looks so much younger and with a goofy haircut, too, as does a bearded Ivan Putski. Valentine takes a few shots at some fat guy who tries to stop him from grabbing a chair. Lynch! Lynch mob! Sorry, was reading about the Brooke Hart murder and subsequent lynching of his killers prior to starting this review. Talk about a disgusting act of human-kind. Oh, uh, the match is thrown out at a clipped 4:39. *1/2 Looked like an intense fight, but with little substance, no finish, and a half the match is clipped out. That's the best rating I could justify giving what was kept intact.
Texas Tornado Match:
Jimmy Snuka & Junkyard Dog vs. Roddy Piper & Bob Orton Jr.:
From the January 21st, 1985 card held at Madison Square Garden, and for those who aren't sure, "Texas Tornado" means that all four participants are allowed in the ring at the same time, relegating tagging in and out pointless. Snuka and Piper slug it out in one corner, while JYD and Orton hug in the other. They take forever to set up an inrish whip spot that sees the heels being rammed into each other. JYD with headbutts to Piper, and Snuka pounds away on Orton, knocking him through the ropes, to the floor. Piper is trapped in between Snuka and JYD, but runs out of the ring. Orton runs in and gets beat up by JYD some more. Irish whip, and JYD with a crummy looking clothesline. Outside the ring, Piper whips Snuka into the ring post. Piper rolls back in the ring and it's open season on the JYD. Snuka crawls back into the ring and hammers away on Piper again, but Orton makes the save. Piper stomps JYD out of the ring, but Snuka comes back with a double noggin-knocker. They botch a "school boy" spot, as Snuka mounts Piper and pounds away. The action spills into the aisle, and everyone slugs it out. Back in the ring, and Piper and Orton double team Snuka. Snapmares and chinlocks slapped on both Snuka and JYD, and we clip to later in the rest-holds. Irish whips and double sleepers from the heels. Shouldn't the FACES be doing these spots? Piper stomps away at Snuka while having JYD trapped in the hold, in a cute spot. Clip to later in the resting again. JYD and Snuka try locking hands for inspiration and leverage, and after about what might be a million years, combine forces to ram Orton and Piper into each other. Snuka hammers on Piper and knocks him silly with a headbutt. Orton turns himself inside out on a whip to the corner. Piper thumbs JYD and connects with a knee lift. Double slam on Snuka, the clip seen in the Coliseum Video intro. Orton heads to the top rope, but he meets the knees of Snuka on a splash attempt. Piper goes nuts and chokes Snuka, but Snuka is up and takes the action out of the ring. Piper ends up tripping the Dog, and Orton drops a knee for the three count at a clipped down 6:40. Blech. * Started out as a promising brawl, but then things went to hell with those rest spots, and even with clip jobs, the rest holds lasted for way too long. Very disappointed by this one.
- Next up is a terrible women's battle royal from the golden age of television, it seems. I'm sorry, but I'm not wasting more than two sentences on this garbage, so we'll just skip ahead to the next match. One woman wins, by the way. Oh, that was three sentences. Wait, four. SIX!
- 20 Man Battle Royal:
(Participants: Tito Santana, Sgt. Slaughter, Antonio Inoki, Afa, Sika, Samu, Dick Murdoch, Adrian Adonis, Bob Orton, The Iron Shiek, Paul Orndorff, Jose LUIS Rivera, Butcher Vachon, Tony Garea, Chief Jay Strongbow, Steve Lombardi, Rene Goulet, Ron Shaw, Charlie Fulton, Terry Daniels)
From the July 23rd, 1984 card held at Madison Square Garden. Not exactly the deepest example of drawing power, but there's a few names in there... and what the HELL is Antonio Inoki doing in this one? Seriously, that's just way too random for this tape. Much like almost any battle royal, I'll only keep tabs on eliminations, unless something really enticing makes me want to exert any more effort other than the bare minimum. Slaughter immediately goes after the Iron Shiek, but that lasts a solid twenty seconds. CLIP to the ring being cleared out a little bit. Santana knocks Adonis through the ropes with an enziguri. Not a whole hell of a lot going on. The Samoans triple team Murdoch, but Adonis makes the save. Then Slaughter back drops Adonis out at 2:40, then Slaughter is tossed by Murdoch seconds later, with a little help from Adonis. Looks like Murdoch has been tossed, off screen. Tito Santana is tossed at the 3:46 mark by Inoki, I believe. Both Samoans (other than Samula) have been tossed, then Inoki sends Samula out at 4:21. The ring is practically empty now, with only five men left. Orton with a scoop slam on Inoki, but he misses an elbow, and an enziguri knocks Orton out of the ring at 5:08. It's down to Inoki, Goulet, Shaw, and Garea. Wow. Garea is dumped by both heels at 5:32. The crowd is NOT into this one. Inoki ducks a pair of clotheslines. Shaw slaps on a full nelson, but Goulet accidentally eliminates Shaw at 6:15, and Inoki hits an enziguri and tosses Goulet for the victory at a clipped down 6:24. Not the best battle royal, and not too far from one of the most pointless and least noteworthy I've ever seen. Seriously, there was nothing here to get excited about, and the finish is a Japanese superstar being left against two scrubs? Come on...
WWF Intercontinental Title; Steel Cage Match:
The Magnificent Muraco © vs. "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka (w/ Buddy Rogers):
Yes, it's THAT match, pulled from the Madison Square Garden card held on October 17th, 1983, and if you don't know what I mean by "that match", I have nothing to say after that, and can't come up with anything either, so there. Snuka gets a pretty impressive babyface reaction, so you know the crowd is jakked for this one. They exchange blows to open the match, with Snuka taking the upperhand. Lockup into the ropes, and Snuka hammers away and drops Muraco with knife-edge chops. Snuka rams Muraco to the buckle and continues to unload with rights. Muraco with a knee to the midsection to put Snuka down on the canvas, then slingshots Snuka into the cage, and Snuka blades. It's obvious the way he had his hands positioned, fisted up, before being flung up into the cage. Muraco punishes Snuka, hammering away on the wound. Muraco whips Snuka to the corner, but meets a foot on a charge attempt. He should've brought his American Express. Snuka climbs the cage, but Muraco follows, and rams Snuka into the cage. Muraco scoops Snuka up on his shoulder, but Snuka fights free, crotching Muraco across the top rope. Muraco slams Snuka off the top rope, and a close up shows Snuka is wearing an impressive mask of blood. Muraco goes for the door, but Snuka blocks the attempt, so Muraco hits him low for his troubles. Whip to the corner is reversed, with exaggerated over-sell from Muraco. Snuka rams Muraco into the cage, and now Muraco is bleeding, I think. Snuka with a scoop slam, followed by a second rope fist drop. Snuka pounds away on Muraco, and a headbutt accidentally knocks Muraco out the door and to the floor, giving Muraco the unusual victory at 6:43. Wow, talk about fucking yourself. After the match, Snuka drags Muraco back into the ring for more punishment. Snuka takes Muraco over with a suplex, then climbs to the top of the cage, and in one of the most iconic moments in wrestling history, comes crashing down across the chest of Muraco, and the crowd is just going insane the entire time. ** Match was just a decent fight between two rivals, but the post-match shenanigans are off the charts awesome and required viewing for all wrestling fans.
Jimmy Snuka & Arnold Skaaland vs. The Magnificent Muraco & Capt. Lou Albano:
From the December 26th, 1983 card held at Madison Square Garden, the show most recognized for the Iron Shiek upsetting Bob Backlund for the WWF Title, ending the latter's reign of over five years as champion. We join the match, slightly in progress, with Muraco pounding away on Skaaland. Whip to the corner, and Muraco misses a charge. Skaaland with some crappy arm drags to frustrate Muraco. Muraco slaps on a headlock, then gives a "friendly" gesture to Snuka. Skaaland slams Muraco, then takes a shot at Albano attempting to enter the ring. CLIP! Lockup, and Skaaland with a headlock. Irish whip, and Skaaland takes another shot at Albano, then cradles Muraco for a two count. Snuka finally tags in, and Muraco doesn't seem to want any part of him. Lockup, and Muraco grabs a headlock, followed by a shoulder block. Criss-cross sequence ends with Snuka nailing Muraco with a chop. Snuka with a jumping headbutt for a two count, then slaps on a chinlock. Albano gets the tag in... and he really doesn't want anything to do with Snuka. Snuka kicks him in the gut, but Albano goes low abd clubs him across the back a few times. Snuka gets slammed down by Muraco while the referee is distracted, allowing Albano some more easy shots. Muraco gets the tag back in and drives his knees into the face of Snuka. Muraco maintains control, but not a whole lot is going on. Snuka finally mounts his comeback, chopping Muraco down like a tree. Snuka goes for Albano, and gets nailed with a dropkick from Muraco for his troubles. Albano tags back in and puts a pounding on Snuka. Muraco tags back in and slaps on a full nelson, but we get heel miscommunication. Skaaland runs in to hammer away on Albano. Snuka with a cross body from the top rope on Muraco for the three count at a clipped 8:21. Thank God that one is over. DUD Nothing here is worth the near-ten minutes I wasted watching it. The first portion of the tape (that I willingly sat through) that I regret doing so for.
Haystacks Calhoun, Peter Miavia, Larry Zbyszko vs. Butcher Vachon, Moose Monroe, Strong Kobayashi:
Weird match to include, so maybe that's the unusual part of it. From sometime in the mid-to-late 70's, I would guess-timate. Jesse's commentary informs us that Calhoun's involvment is the reason for this match being included on the tape. Zbyszko starts with Vachon, and they lockup. Vachon slaps on a headlock, and bowls over Zbyszko with a shoulder block. Zbyszko with a pair of hip tosses, and in comes Calhoun, who gets to take on Monroe. Lockup, and Calhoun slaps on a full nelson. Calhoun rams Monroe to the corner and squashes him repeatedly. Calhoun slaps on a bearhug. Zbyszko tags back in and hammers away. Irish whip, and Zbyszko with a knee to the midsection. Miavia tags in and connects with a stomach buster. Calhoun tags in and splashes Monroe for the three count at the 2:00 mark. The splash is generously called that, as Calhoun got maybe 4 inches off the ground for it. DUD Just a squash.
10-Man Tag Team; 3 out of 5 Falls Match:
Andre The Giant, Jimmy Snuka, Rocky Johnson, Pedro Morales, Salvatore Bellomo vs. The Magnificent Muraco, Superstar Billy Graham, Ray Stevens, Mr. Fuji, Buddy Rose:
Talk about a gigantic match! From the Philadelphia Spectrum, held on February 19th, 1983. I'm sure I've seen this match before in it's complete form, but the majority of it and all it's falls are included at least. This is the FOURTH match to involve Jimmy Snuka, but with so many other bodies, his "long in the tooth" status isn't as obvious here. Oh, and Graham is in his feux-Martial arts stage of his career, so any chance of him being slightly entertaining is thrown out the window.
Fall #1: We've got Johnson and Fuji in the ring. Lockup into the ropes, and Fuji gives a clean break, but you know he's up to something. Lockup, and Johnson uses his athleticism to escape a wristlock and hammers away. Andre comes in to scare Stevens out of the ring. Rose tags in to try his luck with Johnson. Lockup, and Rose with a headlock, followed by a shoulder. Criss-cross sequence ends with Johnson sending him across the ring with a monkey flip and a pair of arm drags. Steven tags in and gets the same treatment. Graham tries a sneak attack, but Morales prevents it. CLIP! Snuka has a headlock on Muraco, but drops down and gets a headbutt for his troubles. Morales tags in and hammers away. Andre tags in for the first time. Irish whip and Andre boots Muraco out of the ring. Irish whip again, and this time Muraco runs right into the backside of the Giant, and sells it like he ran into a brick wall. Steven tags in, but he doesn't want any of Andre, either. CLIP! Muraco with a knee to Bellomo, then hoists him up for an airplane spin. Bellomo ends up falling on top for a two count. Rose with an airplane spin on Bellomo, then a slam down. Fuji tags back in and hammers away. Stevens in for more punishment. Snuka gets the tag back in and works Stevens over with chops and a headbutt. Muraco tags in and gets another headbutt. Morales tags in and takes a cheap shot at Muraco, with a little help from Andre. Johnson tags in and lands a series of rights. Andre is in once again,a nd he knocks Muraco into the ropes with a headbutt. CLIP! Bellomo with a dropkick to Fuji, followed by a shoulder block. Fuji with an over-head belly-to-belly suplex on Bellomo for the three count at a clipped 6:27.
Fall #2: Bellomo and Fuji have to start the fall, because they ended the first fall. CLIP to Fuji working Bellomo over some more. Fuji scoops him up, but Snuka dropkicks Bellomo on top of Fuji for a surprise three count at the 40-second mark.
Fall #3: We return to the action, and Rose is dragging Bellomo away from his corner. Bellomo fights free and tags out to Snuka. Snuka hammers away then surprises Rose with a sunset flip for another three count at the 35-second mark. At least Snuka knew how to do it right.
Fall #4: Rose with a side headlock on Snuka. Irish whip, and Rose with a shoulder block. Criss-cross sequence, and Snuka catches Rose coming with a big chop. Andre tags in and chops Rose down. Fuji tags in, but he's regretting that decision, and begs Andre for mercy. Andre clubs him down, but Fuji with a double thrust into the neck of Andre. Muraco tags in and takes some shots at the big man. Andre headbutts Stevens for trying to get cheap shots in. Muraco heads to the top rope, but Andre slams him off. Irish whip, and Andre with another big chop. Rose gets the tag, and Andre drags him into the ring himself. Snuka with a headbutt from the apron. Andre with a big boot, followed by an ass drop for the three count at around the 3:30 mark for their 3rd fall, winning it without having to go to a winner-take-all fifth fall. **
Fun match for what was shown, but the clip jobs are always annoying, and two of the falls were seriously that short, from what I could tell. I wouldn't mind seeing the full version. I wonder if Graham even got involved in the match legally.
Final Thoughts: Not a bad tape, for the most part. We open up with a pretty good match for the Intercontinental Title, we get the complete match and post-match stuff from the classic Cage match between Snuka and Muraco, and peppered in between is some unusual choices, but this is an unusual tape, afterall. It's about a 50/50 tape in terms of stuff I would want to watch if I wasn't reviewing it, so I'll give it a Mild Recommendation, but the most important match, these days, is available on a handful of various DVD releases.
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