Coliseum Home Video: WWF's Hottest Matches
by Erick Von Erich
I wasn't too geeked when I heard that WWE Network was adding old "Coliseum Videos" to their Vault section. Yet the more my mouse/finger hovered over the descriptions, the more interested I became. Since I haven't babbled about "old school" kayfabe era WWF in awhile, I thought I'd give this a shot. Coliseum Home Videos were something of a mystery to me, back in the day. Sure, I'd see their ads on the TV shows and in the WWF Magazine, but shyed away from the $30-40 prices. The only "true" video rental place in my town never ordered these-- just the big PPV videos. So a lot of this is stuff my 12-18 year old self would've jizzed over, back then. Oh...and I believe the last "Colisuem Home Video" I reviewed was "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan about 10 years ago, so at the very LEAST, this has to be better...right?!
Sean Mooney welcomes us, reciting a little poem, of sorts: "the heat of summer may have passed... but we've got a lineup that'll scorch the hair off...your eyebrows". Mooney tugs at his collar, a little bit, as the recurring gag is that things are in fact getting HOTTER in the studio. Network info tells us that this tape was released on October 25, 1990 and given the roster and selection of matches, that seems right.
Tito Santana vs. Rick "The Model" Martel
I'm sorry, but I can't help myself: Round 693 of the Strike Force Wars. Looks like it was taped at a "Superstars of Wrestling" show, but we've got Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan on the call. They talk about how this is an EXCLUSIVE match, but Internets Research says this; and a good chunk of other matches on this tape; were also shown on Prime Time Wrestling about 6 months earlier. I'm guessing that those PTW segments were "joined-in-progress", so maybe the full match is what's exclusive? Bell rings, as they fight over waistlocks until Martel makes the ropes. Gorilla plusg referee Joey Marella, saying he's "one of the premiere referees". Heenan: "he can only count to 3". Criss-cross (JUMP! JUMP!) and Martel hits a drop-kick. Chico counters with a hip-toss and two drop-kicks to send Martel rolling to the outside. Martel returns and takes over with some cheapshots. He misses a knee into the corner, so Santana targets it and works him him over. Heenan stops with the jokes for a bit and points out that Santana's working the toe-hold and setting up for the Figure Four. Martel sells it like crazy and can't do a leapfrog. Santana whacks the knee into the ringpost, then drags him to the center of the ring to go for the Figure Four Leg-lock. Martel gets a thumb-to-the-eye to break it up. Martel drops some elbows, then hits Santana with the reverse wheelbarrow, bottom-rope, catapult. Basic slam, then Martel goes upstairs. Santana blocks, of course, and beats him into both corners. Irish whip to the corner, then Martel misses a flying reverse body-press, allowing Santana to get a 2 count. Small package gets another 2. Backdrop from Santana and he hits the flying forearm... but Martel rolls out to rinsgide. They fight on the ropes and, when Marells scodls Santana, Martel sneaks in a shot of his Arrogance spray. That "blinds" Santana and Martel scores the 3. Gee...no way I EVER expected Martel's spray can to affect the decision! At least Heenan and Monsoon were energized, doing their old bit about betting dinner on the match. Heenan: "We're going to the best place in town! I'm getting the large fries, tonight!"
Up next, Lord Alfred Hayes narrates "Tracking the WWF Tag Team Championship". He babbles about the qualities of a successful team, while we get the finish of Strike Force vs. Demolition at WrestleMania 4. Hayes talks about Demolition's championship reign and even cites the Brain Busters, yet buries them by saying the title changed on a "slight lapse of concentration" by Demolition, then that the Busters were "soundly thrashed" in a rematch. No footage of the Busters is included. The video jumps to Huntsville, AL, where the Collossal Connection won the Championship in December 1989. Yet everybody's happy as we jump to the Demo's big "three-peat" win at WrestleMania VI. We end things with SummerSlam '90 and the Hart Foundation's win. Hayes narrated the whole thing in a pro-Demolition tone, even though they were firmly heels at this time.
The Rockers vs. The Orient Express (w/Mr. Fuji)
(Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty vs. Sato & Tanaka)
From Maple Leaf Gardens in June 1990 with Mooney and Hayes on the call. These teams were in an unofficial "match-up" feud, although the Rockers were also involved in a short-lived 3-way program with the Hart Foundation and Demolition. Brawling begins right as the Rockers arrive, but the Rockers do everything in STEREO and clear the ring. Michaels with an armbar on Tanaka, then tag to Jannetty for a splash off the ropes. Criss-cross (JUMP! JUNP!) sequence culminates with ... a punch from Jannetty. The Express work Jannetty's arm, doing phantom tags, which referee Danny Davis allows. Were this 1986, this would've been BIG NEWS involving Davis. The Express goes for a double team, but Jannetty leaps and they crash into each other. Crowd is momentarily amped, so the Rockers follow it up with...an armbar on Sato. Swinging neckbreaker from Michaels gets 2, then a double armbar gets 2 for Jannetty. Monkey-flip and a shoulderblock off the ropes from Jannetty, but Tanaka illegally kicks him in the back on the next rebound. They double-team away, knocking Jannetty outside for the obligatory Fuji Cane Shot! Sato gets a nice reverse thrust-kick for 2. Double-team rope-drape and charging split-splash from Tanaka gets another 2. Slam and a second-rope fistdrop from Sato. Janeetty with a sloppy leapfrog into a sunset flip for the desparation 2. Double clothesline spot, then the Hot Tag to Michaels. Backdrop for Tanaka and Sweet Torso Music to Sato! Double noggin-knocker, too. You know the finish is coming, so all 4 guys get in the ring. Sato pulls Michaels outside and everybody's soon out there, fightin' away. The Rockers slide in to beat the 10, winning by count out. Huh. Well, I guess it sorta' evens things from WrestleMania VI. Match was basically Jannetty playing "Face in Peril" while the Express chopped on him. Didn't really have any momentum or excitement.
Dusty Rhodes vs. Greg "The Hammer" Valentine (w/Jimmy Hart)
This is suposedly a fan request from "Arthur in Brooklyn, NY". You SICK BASTARD, Arthur! From June, 1989 and pre-polka dot Dusty. Tempers flare, early, as they shove each other into opposing corners. Hammer works an arm-wringer, but a (semi) bionic elbow breaks, resulting in the Valentine Flop. They stand around with some slow, yet animated, punches and clubberin'. Dusty misses a big elbowdrop, so Hammer gives him a few elbows and a rear chinlock. Dusty tries to get crowd into it, but they don't seem too enthused. Jimmy Hart tells them all to shut up, which helps the reaction a bit. Dusty gets chooped into the corner and responds with some full-on Clubberin' and a drop kick (of sorts). More elbows and Ten Vunderful Punches in the corner from Dusty. He works Hammer's legs and tries going for the Figure Four (which gets the crowd excited), but Hammer does the ol' Thumb to the Eye. Hammer takes a lonnnng time setting up his own Figure Four, but Dusty counters into a small package for 2. More Dusty Clubberin', but Hammer gets the knees up on a corner charge. Hammer distracts the ref...so Jimmy Hart can set up on the top rope for something?! This brings out referee "Rugged" Ronnie Garvin, who pulls Hart down and distracts Hammer. Dusty grabs Hammer from behind and gets a gentle roll-up to score the pin. Well, "roll-up" is subective, since he just kinda' grabbed Hammer's tights and let him fall backwards. Super-ordinary match-- almost "terrible", but it was interesting just to see pre-polka dot Dusty and how the crowd wasn't exactly sure what to make of him.
Back in the studio, Mooney is sweating severely and persuades us to write a postcard to "WWF Fan Favorites". If I had done that in 1990, I probably would've asked for Ultimate Warrior vs. Bad News Brown.
Jake "The Snake" Roberts vs. Akeem (w/Slick)
From a Superstars taping in June 1990. Before the match, we get a 10 second "profile" on Jake, narrated by Hayes. Nothing notable; just Jake planting jobbers with the DDT. Jake tries a few armbars, but gets thumped in the external occipital protuberance. Akeem misses an elbowdrop, then avoids a DDT attempt by rolling out. They kill time as Jake applies an armbar. Akeem is doing his best to create some drama by constantly bellowing, a la "Iron" Mike Sharpe. Kneelift from Jake, but Akeem once again rolls out from a DDT attempt. They fight at ringside, with Akeem doing the most damage. Back inside, Akeem tosses Jake into the corners and floors him with a clothesline and a straddle-splash on the ropes. Akeem tosses him around again, then misses an avalanche into the corner. Jake goes for the DDT, but Akeem turns it into a backdrop. Akeem goes a for a splahs, but the lake is dry. Short-arm clothesline from Jake, but he's winded and takes his time setting up the DDT. As he hooks the front facelock, Slick reaches in and grabs the leg, triggering the disqualification. Akeem rolls away and Slick does what he always does: eats the face's finisher. At least Akeem manages to pull him out before Damien plops on.
We cut to a promo, aimed at Ted BiBiase, from the period where Jake was carrying the Million Dollar Championship in his snake bag. Jake says it could be Damien in the bag...or it could be one of several other snakes he shows us! Including a white python, a rattlesnake and Lucifer--- Damien's big brother! I always mark out for the occassional on-screen reference to Lucifer, from 1986 to 1991. The scene freezes on a close-up of a cobra, while Jake says: "trust me" and drops a sinister laugh. This was basically 1991 heel Jake, but in early 1990.
Jake "The Snake" Roberts vs. "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase (w/Virgil)
Okay, this match actually lives up to the title, as this really was one of the WWF's "hottest" angles for awhile. We're in Hamilton, Ontario's Copps Coliseum on December 14, 1989. Slight commentary swap, as we have Gorilla with Mooney. Bad guys get the jump on Jake, but he ducks under their double-team clothesline and hits both of them with his own. Jake hits a kneelift and tries the DDT, early, which is the cue for DiBiase to roll out and run around ringside. They duke it out, mid-ring, then DiBiase rolls out, once more. Repeat a few more times. DiBiase nails Jake with a fistdrop as he's getting back into the ring, then targets the neck. DiBiase pounds a few elbows, then slaps on a front facelock resthold. Flying double axe-handle from DiBiase off the second rope gets a 2 count. DiBiase tries the front facelock, again, but Jake works it into a swinging reverse neckbreaker. Jake blocks another facelock attempt with a backdrop and an inverted atomic drop. Jake drops a few knees into the back of DiBiase's neck, until Virgil hops up on the apron. Short-arm clothesline to DiBiase and Jake signals for the DDT. Virgil runs into the ring to attack Jake, drawing the disqualification. The bad guys do a beatdown and slap Jake with some $100 bills. Jake fights back and chases DiBiase from the ring. Of course, Virgil eats a DDT and Damien slides out to make the fans happy. Lame match, but Jake's WWF days were more about the feuds or angles than the in-ring action.
Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake vs. Haku (w/Bobby "The Brain" Heenan)
From Fresno, CA on August 9, 1989 at a marathon Wrestling Challenge taping. Odd inclusion, as at the time of the tape's release, Beefcake had been off of TV for a few months with his boating accident and Haku was fairly low on the card. Haku still has his "king" tights on, even though he had long since lost the "crown" to Jim Duggan. Haku opens a can of Tongan Tushy Kicking, right away, with a series of chops and headbutts into the corner. They hit the ropes, as Beefcake reverses and hits his high-knee to send Haku to the outside for the obligatory WWF "Early-in-the-match Heel Bail and Refresh Spot". Beefcake follows him out to deliver an atomic drop and roll him back in. Ten Vunderful Punches gets a 2 count for Bruti. Haku chops him in the throat and tries to bite his nose off! I mention that, because supposedly Haku actually did that, once upon a time. Haku slams him on the top rope, then hits a shoulderbreaker for 2. A Chinlock Happens, then Haku catapults him under the bottom rope. Slam, but Haku misses an eblow off the ropes. THREE slams from Bruti, then they blow a backdrop attempt. Vertical suplex scores 2 for Bruti, then he hooks in the sleeperhold. Heenan runs in to make the save, triggering the disqualification. Lame. Heenan momentarily gets hooked in the sleeper, then Bruti clears the ring with his hedge-trimmers. Nothing going on, here, but it's something that would've fit right in as a syndicated "feature match" in 1989.
WWF Manager Profile: "Sensational Queen" Sherri
Super generic promo as Sherri hollers about being the Queen of the Macho Kingdom for about 2 minutes. She tastes Macho King's food and grooms him. Sorry, but this segment is beyond terrible.
Shawn Michaels (w/Marty Jannetty) vs. "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase (w/Virgil)
From April 1990 at San Antonio's Freeman Coliseum with Gorilla and Lord Alfred Hayes. Yeah, Michaels' home town, so that explains why they did this. Animated collar-n-elbow antics and two hip-tosses from DiBiase cause him to posture around. They criss-cross (JUMP! JUMP!) and Michaels hits two drop-kicks and his own hip-tosses fro the obligatory WWF "Early-in-the-match Heel Bail and Refresh Spot". DiBiase returns to more hip-tosses, then things settle into a headlock spot, with DiBiase occassionally reversing it for a quick count. They hop up and we get the same result, almost move-for-move, and we're back to the headlock. DiBiase blocks a roll-up from behind, stops to show off, and gets hit with another drop-kick. Back to the headlock! DiBiase blocks a charge into the corner, then hits two fist-drops and chokes away. Michaels is whipped to ropes and sells a clothesline very well, as he does a "360" (tm, Gorilla Monsoon). Y'know, it might've actually been 360, in this case. Slam into a backbreaker gets 2 for DiBiase, followed by a reverse elbow and a knee-drop. Headlock time, but this time it's applied by DiBiase. Michaels is tossed out and Virgil tries to stuff money in his mouth, but Marty Jannetty is over to point a menacing finger and get the ref's attention. Meanwhile, DiBiase drops Michaels, neck-first, on the railing. DiBiase suplexes him back in for 2 and we rest with another headlock. DiBiase goes for a piledriver, but it's reversed into a backdrop.
They hit the ropes and both guys go down in a double clothesline spot. DiBiase sets up for his second-rope falling elbow-drop, but misses. Michaels with an inverted atomic drop, clothesline, backdrop and a drop-kick for 2. DiBiase whips him to the ropes, but he stops the rebound and hits DiBiase with a swinging neckbreaker. Michaels goes upstairs for a flying bodypress, but only gets 2. Virgil trips Michalels, so Jannetty is over to give chase. Virgil leads him right into the ring and a nasty clothesline from DiBiase. DiBiase goes back to work on Michaels, but it's not long before Jannetty and Virgil both get in the ring and we get a double disqualification (although ring announcer Mike McGuirk first announces it as a "double countout", then corrects herself). Rockers clear the ring with double-teams. Very good match for 1990 standards. Michaels' big spots were mostly drop-kicks, but there's no real surprise that this was a good match.
Superstar Workout with Power & Glory
Hercules and Paul Roma are all decked out in ZUBAZ and in the gym giving workout tips. I've never seen an interesting kayfabe era "workout segment"...and that streak continues. Even with the ZUBAZ.
Dusty Rhodes & Sapphire (w/Elizabeth) vs. "Macho King" Randy Savage & "Sensational Queen" Sherri (w/Brother Love)
From a Wrestling Challenge taping with Gorilla and the Brain on June 26, 1990. Love gets his own entrance and introduces "Brother King & Sister Queen". I guess Love's out there because the Rhodes/Macho feud started at the special "Brother Love Show" at the 1990 Royal Rumble. Maybe. Liz is decked out in a black gown with yellow hair ribbons to match Dusty & Sapphire. Macho Man stalls, hops outside the ring and grabs the house mic to give an "ohhhh yeah". Dusty then gets the mic and responds: "before I get to you, I'm gonna' whip that red-faced pumpkin's ass, right here in Huntington!" Yup, he said "ass" (no censoring) and the crowd goes bananas.
Things settle down as Sapphire and Sherri start. Sherri's not wearing wrestling attire, rather her usual slinky dress, so Sapphire starts ripping her heels off. Brother Love distracts referee "Evil" Earl Hebner, allowing Sherri to toss Sapphire into Savage's knee. Dusty runs in to hit a bionic elbow on Savage, then tries ripping off Sherri's dress. Gorilla: "Did you see the straps and the leather?! She's into some heavy stuff!" Sapphire actually attempts a take-down similar to a DDT, then tags off. Some minor wrestling breaks out as Dusty thumps away with elbows on Savage. More outside shenanigans as the other 3 participants keep running around the ring and distracting. Savage comes off the top with a double axe-handle, then goes into a long sleeper-hold segment. Savage goes up top, again, but gets punched in the tummy. Dusty runs out after Love, then Savage attacks him on the return. Macho misses a straddle splash...so of course Dusty hops out after Love, again. Sherri and Love try to double-team, but miscommunicate as Love deliver the weakest looking knee. Back inside, Dusty hooks a sleeper on Savage. Everyone's in the ring and in the hub-bub, LOVE jumps from the top rope with Sherri's purse and hits Big Dust! Savage gets a cover, but only for 2. Tag to Sapphire, who picks up Sherri in a fireman's carry slam and gets a 2 count. All 4 combatants are in the ring, as Love tosses the purse back in. Elizabeth sneaks in, grabs the purse and smacks Sherri with it. The ref turns around and Sapphire makes the cover for 3. Well... no real wrestling, but it was all about the outside characters and shenanigans. Yet entertaining for what it was.
Sean Mooney signs off from the studio...now sweating profusely as his shirt is drenched. One of his notebooks suddenly catches on fire... see, cuz' HOTTEST matches?!
Why'd You Watch This:
We talked about this on Da' Board, but CHV's would've been great for custom compilations in the ol' Tape Trading Days. Pull off the ones you like and put them in order with other high-profile matches. But as separate, standalone features they kinda' stink. However, I'd actually recommend the Michaels/DiBiase bout. The rest? Take it or leave it, depending on your patience.
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