[Note: Before the review begins, I'd like to mention how much fun I had writing this one up. If I couldn't find some amusement out of the movie portion, there's no way I would've gone through with this. I'm glad I did.]
- I've never been to sure whether or not to make an actual review out of roughly a thirty-minute "PPV" that was coupled with a lousy 90 minute movie, but hey, it really can't hurt to do it, can it? After all, it's not like this would be the first website to post a review that only consisted of one match. Sure, in a lot of cases, the one match is usually something worth writing about in a good way, but whatever. This match, and feud, and movie even, really brings me back to a simpler era, before the dark time. Before the Empire. Okay, sorry, I was channeling Obi-Wan Kenobi for a second.
As a child, 1989 was one of those years in wrestling that always seemed like a lost treasure to me. The PPV's were frequently rented, the Coliseum Videos as well, from this era, were the only ones usually available, the WWF action figure line was re-invented through Hasbro, and the video games started coming out for the NES. Naturally, for a child like me, it was a great time to be a WWF fan. One feud that always stood out to me, more than any other, was, you guessed it, the stuff between Hulk Hogan and Zeus. Yes, I actually liked it as a very young child, and even years later thanks to constant viewings of SummerSlam '89. Couple that with the fact I loved Brutus Beefcake (hides face in shame), and enjoyed watching Randy Savage get his butt whooped from corner to corner, you had to know I was loving every second of it. I didn't even know that there was such a thing as No Holds Barred: The Match / The Movie, and here we are today, over 21 years later, and Hulk Hogan STILL doesn't know when to let it go.
Okay, so we're REALLY not going to sit through the movie. Instead, I'm going to talk about random moments in the movie that really stood out to me. First, let's see what we've got in terms of characters and plot...Hulk Hogan plays Rip, a Champion of the World Wrestling Federation. He's a ratings draw like you've never seen before, brother. Brell (played by type-casted as villain Kurt Fuller), is an evil television executive who's company is dead last in ratings. He offers Hogan a blank check to be on his network, but Hogan... I mean Rip's loyal to the core, brother. Brell gets mad and spits on him (accidentally) in response. Brell hires Samantha Moore (played by the very sexy Joan Severance) to seduce Hogan, but she ends up falling for him. Brell then starts his own special, Battle of the Tough Guys, and here's where we are introduced to Zeus (played by Tiny Lister), who beats up such legends as Stan Hansen and... Pete Doherty? Anyways, Brell wants Zeus in the ring with Rip, Rip refuses, Zeus hurts Rip's brother Randy (I don't know why I laughed as I type that), and Rip accepts the match. Oh, what a match... but here's my points of rememberance for this movie...
- The movie opens with a title defense featuring Rip and Bill Eadie, better known at the time as Ax of Demolition, except without any makeup and his hair permed to make it fluffy. Jesse Ventura and Gene Okerlund even make appearances calling the action. Match is basically a back-drop for the credits. Oh, and Rip constantly screams "Rip 'Em!", his catchphrase, of course. Looks like he stole Jimmy Snuka's "love" gesture, too.
- Rip is kidnapped in a limousine, and the force of him trying to kick open the door causes the limo to swerve, violently, back and forth. I'm not an expert on kicking moving cars from the interior, but that seems a little bit... contrived.
- Rip beats up a gang of thugs using wrestling moves. This wouldn't be that big of a deal, except the limo driver reveals to have soiled himself. Even WORSE, is we get a close up shot of the soiled pants (and I mean SOILED!), and, well, we've got the greatest exchange in the history of film...
Rip: What's that smell!? (snarl)
Limo Driver: D-D-Dooookie!!
Rip: (snarls, in the form of a question)
I am NOT making that up, by the way.
- Zeus beats the crap out of the guy I later identified as The Duke of Dorchester, Pete Doherty.
- The Guy who I later identified as Stan Hansen makes fun of Brell's assistants, checks out their peckers, and laughs in their faces.
- Rip stops a robbery in a local diner / greasey spoon by starting a pie fight. Again, I am not making this up.
- Rip and Samantha, for whatever reason, have to share a hotel room. Joan Severance, who's posed nude and shown skin in other films roughly around the time of this movie, barely gives us a conservative bra, while she watches Rip work out in a VERY revealing speedo. Creepy.
- Rip invades Zeus' personal gym, and gets taunted over a P.A. system, before breaking a mirror, or a water tank, or something that explodes. I didn't know glass exploded like that, but you know, it's an action movie. I think.
- Rip, at the bed-side of Randy, who's been beaten into a coma (or something), does his best to recreate Rocky Balboa being at Adrian's side in Rocky II. Too bad Rip doesn't start reading Go, Dog, Go to inspire Randy's recovery.
- Then, finally, the match. And people thought WCW Main Events during the late 90's were a mess... hell, let's treat it like a real match, since it's all fake, anyways.
Rip blocks a stomp, and it's time to RIP EM! That's Rip's version of Hulking Up, by the way. Brell, in frustration, gradually starts looking like Grandpa from the Munsters. Zeus with bitch slaps, but Rip isn't selling them. Rip does the double punch block, and smacks Zeus with a headbutt. Rip with rights and lefts with the ferociousness of a Mike Tyson. Rip goes for a slam, but Zeus blocks. Rip won't accept someone not cooperating with him during a match, and slams him anyway, shaking the entire ring to the point you thought an anvil was thrown into it from the ceiling. Zeus no-sells it, though, and starts choking, so Rip chokes him back. Rip with some roundhouse rights, then knocks him out of the ring with the Axe. Zeus no-sells THAT, bearhugs Rip, and rams him into one of the remaining ring posts. Randy throws himself to the ground for sympathy heat and gets kicked for it, courtesy of Zeus. Rip sees Randy in laying around in pain, assuming Zeus did it, and he Rips Up Another One! Zeus tosses a fan at him (PLANT!), but Rip catches him, and they brawl into the crowd. So this is where the Attitude Main Event Brawl came from? Rip hammers away, but gets headbutted over the rail, and comes crashing down a set of stairs. Zeus thinks he's won, but Rip peaks up from under the rail (VINCE AT WM XIX!), and trips up Zeus, then drags him out, ramming the leg into the rail, and bashing him with a right. Rip continues working him over, as Brell violently rips apart his control room, causing sparks to fly everywhere. Rip beats Zeus to within an inch of his life, then wins by knocking Zeus off the balcony, crashing through the canvas, and probably killing him in the process. Call it a victory for Rip at 12:41. Rip isn't done though, as he snarls at Brell, and tosses a chair through the glass protecting him from harm. Brell, the coward of the year, backs away, hurling insults (you jock-ass!), and into the exposed electrical circuits, frying himself like over-cooked chicken at your local Burger King. If anyone took any of this seriously, I'm sorry. I was trying to enjoy myself as much as I could watching the last 15-minutes of the movie. Maybe this would have been a good idea to headline WrestleMania VI, after all.
- Anyways. that's the end of the movie. Credits roll, everything is fine... or is it. It's time for No Holds Barred: THE MATCH!
- Sean Mooney is lurking around ringside, while the cage is being constructed. He actually gets into the ring, describing the feeling of being inside of the ring. For those who don't know, anything goes in this match, and the four participants are going to be like caged animals. Like caged animals, they will be fighting for their lives. According to Prof. Mooney, the steel will NOT feel any pain if someone is thrown into it, but rather, the person will feel the pain instead.
- We throw it back to Mean Gene Okerlund, in front of an obvious blue-screen of the arena and the Steel Cage (the big blue mess, as I sometimes would call). Mean Gene mentions that Zeus arrived, jealous about Hogan getting the top billing of the movie, and said (kinda) that he should've been the star of the movie, and not the Hulkster. Mean Gene then throws it to a special video package, highlighting the entire feud between Hulk Hogan and the Human Wrecking Machine, Zeus.
- Last May, on Saturday Night's Main Event... Hulk Hogan is getting ready to defend the WWF Title against the Big Boss Man inside of a steel cage, but Zeus makes an appearance, and blocks his entrance. Zeus kicks Hogan in the chest, then pounds the back of the of Hogan, beating him to the ground, then simply walks away!
- Last July, on Saturday Night's Main Event... Zeus is attacking Brutus Beefcake, following a match with Randy Savage. Hulk Hogan runs in and bashes him with a Steel Chair, but Zeus no-sells it!
- SummerSlam, Courtesy of Coliseum Video... Hulk Hogan hammers away on Zeus and goes for a slam, but Zeus no-sells the attempt and chokes away! Unseen from the video package, is Hogan bashing Zeus with Sensational Sherri's loaded purse, and pinning him in the center of the ring.
- Last October, on Saturday Night's Main Event... Zeus is acting as a corner-man for Ted Dibiase, and attacks Hogan following the match, and gives him his special move, the twisting neck snap of doom!
- Survivor Series, Courtesy of Coliseum Video... Zeus and Hogan start the match for their Survivor Series teams. Zeus does the neck snap thing again, and chokes Hogan until he's Disqualified. "I don't care if you got a Z on your head or not, that's not legal!" Later on, Hogan and Beefcake cut an interview, but Sherri interupts, tosses magic powder in their faces, and Zeus and Savage ambush them until a roomful of wrestl... I mean Superstars, break things up. I find it funny that Dino Bravo was the only heel in the group, among Red Rooster, Bret Hart, Paul Roma, Hercules, Tito Santana, and Ronnie Garvin.
- The WWF Royal Rumble is coming to you, live on Pay Per View, January 21st, sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. ET. Call your cable providers to order and don't miss out on World Wrestling Federation action! Thanks for mentioning the second "W" word, Vince. Mean Gene informs us that some cable services might not be carrying WWF PPV's such as the Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania. What gives? How could anyone threaten to not carry these shows? Bastards!
- We throw it to Tony Schiavone, who is standing by with the Triangle of Terror Version 1.0, Macho King Randy Savage, Zeus, and Sensational Queen Sherri. Savage promises destruction of Hulkamania inside the steel cage. Zeus does a lot of screaming. Dig that unibrow on Zeus. Zeus spits all over the place and threatens to KILL Hulk Hogan. Not beat. KILL. That's pretty intense. Sherri one up's Zeus in the screaming department, and she's looking pretty hot in a creepy evil queen from Snow White kind of way. How much coke was being passed around in their locker room before this interview was taped, I wonder. Savage takes off the glasses, and looks like he wants to do something very violent to anyone who touches his stash. Then the camera pans to Zeus' face, and I just laugh. Then I laugh more when we see Sherri trying to act creepy.
- We throw it to Sean Mooney, who is standing by with the Pre-Mega Maniacs 0.6, Brutus Beefcake, and the WWF Champion, Hulk Hogan. They're wearing matching "Hulk Rules" t-shirts. Hogan rambles about trapping Savage and Zeus in their own game, inside of a steel cage. Hogan wants Beefer to leave Zeus to him, and Beefcake wants Hogan to know how badly he wants Savage. I'm sorry, but he should be thanking Savage for cutting off his mullet. Mooney looks confused at their rambling nonsense. I'm with you, Mr. Mooney. Hulk Hogan says the strongest force inside the Cage will be the prayers and vitamins that make up Hulkamania. So Hulk Hogan is also the reason why we have so many drug violations and prayers to God in the NFL? What a revoluationary giant!
Zeus and Savage begin climbing, but they get stopped. Beefcake brings Savage down with a back suplex, as does Hogan with Zeus, and now all four men are down and out. The referee decides to unlock the cage door, and gets rammed into the door at the hands of Sherri in the process. Despite the door opened, Sherri scales the cage, not only to give us an upskirt shot, but to hand off the chain to Savage. Savage heads to the top of the cage, and gets nailed in the midsection by Beefcake on an axehandle attempt. Hogan hammers away on Zeus, but a slam attempt fails, and Zeus lands on top of him and begins choking again. Hogan starts HULKING UP, and he no-sells Zeus' double chop to the neck. Savage goes for the door, and Beefcake goes over and out, leaving it to Zeus and Hogan. Hogan hammers away with rights, then floors Zeus with a clothesline. Hogan with a body slam! Hogan stops Beefcake from coming back in, and wants to take care of Zeus by himself. Selfish bastard. Hogan rams Zeus into the cage four times and scoops him up for a slam. Hogan hits the ropes and drogs the leg not once, not twice, but thrice, and it's finally all over at 9:25, via pinfall. It's time for the usual pose-down routine, as Beefcake does a poor job imitating Hogan, and Hogan does his usual act. Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura surprisingly bitch about the fact that WWF PPV's might be blacklisted by certain cable providers. ** Match was surprisingly entertaining, but a brawl inside of a steel cage isn't too hard to screw up, I guess. Everything went by at electrifying speed, so when Zeus did his usual garbage, Savage was bumping his ass off for Beefcake, or vice versa.
- "Mean" Gene Okerlund is "backstage" with the Hulkster. He congratulates Hogan for the victory, and declares it a Christmas present for himself. Hogan spouts off how he predicted he was going to come out on top, and with Beefcake and the fans on his side, there was no other choice but for him to go over. Okerlund interrupts Hogan's rambling about taking care of business in the 30-Man Royal Rumble (blowing his lines in the process), then brings up, yet, again, that the Royal Rumble PPV might not be carried by certain cable companies. Hogan looks like he's about to cry. They want us to call and bother our cable companies, and bully them to bring us these fine, family entertainments. Hogan then cuts a promo on the unnamed cable companies. Wow.
- Things finally end with a highlight package of No Holds Barred: The Match, set to the theme song "No Holds Barred", that somehow came out of a dark closet and dusted off to be featured on the Anthology 3-CD Set released nearly a decade ago. Now I know where it came from, since I blocked all (if any) music featured from the movie. Jim Johnson wrote it, of course.
Final Thoughts: No matter what the price was of this PPV Extravaganza, I could not possibly believe anyone would willingly spend more than, say $10 on a PPV consisting of one wrestling match (and about 20-minutes or so of interviews and such) and a really campy movie. The match was alright, for what it was, a WWF style brawl inside of a steel cage match, but hardly worth the price tag, and as far as I remember, movies on PPV cost $4, and even that would be a rip off to spend to see No Holds Barred: The Movie. No real recommendation, since this was a one-and-done show that's rarely, if ever, been brought up since in the WWE Universe.