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John C.



Tape Review - WWF's Greatest Champions

A good way to get out of writer's lull is to do a review of an old tape so that's what I'm going to be doing here today. For my first one I thought it would be best to recap an old WWF Coliseum Home Video that I had lying around the house. I have never done a tape review before so this is new territory for me. Without further Apu, here she blows...

  • This tape is called "WWF's Greatest Champions" and it's from 1991. The box is a blue cover with the world, IC & tag titles on the top. There's a picture of Hulk Hogan with the world title, The Hart Foundation with the tag titles and the phrase "60 Action Packed Minutes!" on the bottom. I don't know why I have this tape but I guess I just couldn't resist it as a 16-year-old wrestling fan back in '91. It must have been the thing about the minutes. It's not just sixty minutes, they are "Action Packed" minutes. Wow, that's hard to resist.

  • Our host for this tape is Lord Alfred Hayes. He talks to us from Titan Towers in front of the "Hall of Champions." He stands in front of photos that deal with the individuals they will feature on this tape. All you need to know about Hayes is that he was a WWF announcer with a thick British accent and absolutely no personality at all. The guy wasn't even loud. How can you be a wrestling announcer without being loud? Oh well, I think he has a nice toupee so I'll be nice. At least I hope it's a toupee.

  • The first great champion we feature is Ultimate Warrior with buildup to his match against Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania 6. You may remember Warrior from such exciting TV shows as "The Ultimate Warrior teaches kids how to inject a needle" or "The Ultimate Warrior mumbles incoherently." Sorry, I had a Troy McClure moment there. Back to the tape.

  • Clip shown of Warrior & Hogan vs. Mr. Perfect & The Genius (yes!) a few months before 'Mania. Warrior accidentally clotheslines Hogan to the shock of the world as Vinny Mac & Governor Jesse oversell it big time. Nice try guys.

  • Next up is Warrior vs. Earthquake from The Main Event on February 23, 1990. They gave me the date although I could have said that I remembered it from memory but that would be a little too freaky. Quake slowly, and I mean slowly, climbs the middle ropes to splash the Warrior but you know it's not going to happen because he could never do that move so cue the Hogan run-in. In a funny moment Hogan actually points to the floor, Earthquake looks down there with his body already leaning down and Hogan barely grazes Quake with his fist to send him slowly tumbling to the floor. The reason it's funny is because it was just so bad in its execution. I mean, the guy was already going down before the punch came. No wonder fat guys don't like heights. Anyway, Warrior gets mad at Hogan for saving him claiming he wants to do it on his own.

  • Two weeks later Earthquake is seen attacking Hogan after the bell in a match that I'm assuming was against Quake's buddy, the late Dino Bravo. Quake hits him with a splash but just as he's going for another one the Warrior comes in to save his WM6 opponent leaving us all to ask why would he save his opponent? Meanwhile, I'm left to wonder why Quake is wearing a brown singlet as opposed to the usual blue singlet that we are used to seeing him wear. The reason I bring this up is because a 400 pound guy wearing brown isn't the most flattering thing I've ever seen. It makes me think of the "Log" song from Ren & Stimpy. Warrior ends up running the ropes like a crazed madman and almost clotheslines Hogan. Before we get some action Warrior runs off and sadly he doesn't hop onto a plane headed for Siberia.

  • We go to Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior from WrestleMania VI in Toronto. Hogan was world champ, Warrior was IC champ and they were both babyfaces as if you didn't already know. I was at this one live sitting up in the second deck and I spent most of my time bitching because Brutus Beefcake ended the winning streak of my hero, Mr. Perfect. We pick it up about halfway through with Warrior having Hogan in a bearhug. Hogan gets out of the bearhug, whips Warrior into the ropes and Warrior takes out Earl Hebner with a shoulderblock. Warrior nails Hogan with two double axehandles off the top but Hogan wisely steps out of the way of the shoulderblock. Wow, Hogan has watched the Warrior before so he knew to step out of the way. What a genius! That's about all the psychology you can expect in a Hogan match. Hogan covers but there's no ref so Hogan tries to revive him. Warrior catches him with a belly to back side suplex that Hogan oversells but there's no ref for the Warrior's three count. Hogan sneaks in a quick rollup that only gets two. Back elbow sends Warrior out of the ring and Hogan ends up eating the ring post. Crowd starts chanting "He's Hardcore! He's Hardcore!" Okay, maybe not. Warrior hits the gorilla press and the Kamala (!) splash on the back for two. Cue the Hulkamania comeback. The usual punches are followed up by the usual big boot and Warrior moves out of the way of the legdrop. Warrior capitalizes with a "big splash" for the three count and his first world title. Hogan hands the belt and whispers in his ear: "I'm going to headline WrestleMania next year, brother." I never liked Warrior because a guy his size should not be doing a "big splash" for a finisher. Oh well, he was hyper and the kids loved him so who am I to judge? This was Hogan's way of passing the torch although in next year's WrestleMania only one of these men would headline the show and his name was Hulk Hogan so there really was no torch passing. The full match is about ***1/2. It was better than anybody hoped thanks to the good booking that was supposedly orchestrated by Pat Patterson. I know I joke around a lot but this match was really fun to be at live and I will never forget it. To this day, over ten years later, it's still a fun match and always enjoyable to watch.

  • The next champion we will look at is the Macho Man Randy Savage. In his prime Savage was a very good worker who achieved a lot although he never really was the man in the WWF because of the large shadow of Hogan.

  • We head off to WrestleMania IV and the World Title tournament from Atlantic City. Savage beats Butch Reed in round one with the flying elbow. In the quarterfinals he beats Greg Valentine with a rollup as a reversal to the figure four. In the semis he beats the One Man Gang by DQ after Gang tries to attack him with a cane that was given to him by my hero and yours, the Reverend Slick. I love Slick.

  • The finals of the tourney sees Savage against Ted Dibiase. We see only a few minutes of this good match. We join midway as Hogan comes down to support Dibiase because Andre the Giant is in Dibiase's corner. To the end we go as Dibiase catches him in the Million Dollar Dream. Savage reaches for the ropes, Andre interferes to distract the ref so Hogan comes in and hits Dibiase in the back with a chair. Savage unknowingly heads up to the top rope for a beautiful top rope elbow that gets the three count and his first WWF world title. They only showed a portion of the match here but the whole match is about *** or so. The crowd goes apeshit as Hogan hands him the title as a way of saying that it wouldn't have happened without him there. Gotta love Hogan, he's always helping others out. Yeah, right.

  • Randy Savage vs. Andre the Giant from September 29, 1988 from New York City in Madison Square Garden. The camera here is pretty shoddy and the announcing is equally as bad. Andre has a choke on so Savage fights out of it and clotheslines him so that Andre gets hooked in between the ropes. Savage chokes and punches for about a minute before Andre chops his way out. Savage gets the advantage with chops of his own and a double axe off the top that sends Andre down to a big pop. He goes for the top rope elbow but he misses and the camera misses it also as all we end up seeing is Savage hitting the canvas. Andre rolls out where he grabs Elizabeth's foot. Savage attacks him on the outside and the match is called a disqualification. I'll give it *1/2 because it had decent psychology and Savage worked hard as usual. It's tough to have good matches with Andre but this one was decent. My only problem is that if you are going to show a tape of the WWF's greatest champions why not show a match where he retains the belt via pinfall rather than a DQ? Ah well, at least it was watchable.

  • We move on to tag teams with the Hart Foundation. We see a clip of the Hart's, heels at the time, beating The British Bulldog to win the tag titles. They win thanks to the crooked refereeing of Danny Davis.

  • Next up is Summerslam '90 as we see the very end of the Hart's match against Demolition in a very well built feud with a rabid crowd. The Hart's are the faces now as the Legion of Doom interferes, the Anvil hits a shoulderblock into a Bret Hart rollup on Crush for the three count and the tag titles.

  • The Hart Foundation defend the belts against Power & Glory at a house show from December 13, 1990. Power & Glory is Hercules and Paul Roma. The match is in London, Ontario, my hometown, and I can tell because of the London Knights logo that I see throughout the building. I may have been at this show but I don't remember. I went to most of the WWF shows but not all of them. We pick it up with Hercules bodyslamming Bret. Tag to Roma who misses whatever off the top and Bret tags in Anvil as I prepare to get bored. Just as I expect Anvil hits the chinlock and Roma reverses that into a chinlock of his own. Wow, this is riveting! Thank God that Lord Alfred Hayes and Sean Mooney are here to call the action because they make it even more thrilling! After about two minutes of resting Roma dropkicks Anvil out of the ring for some heel tactics. Roma hits a dive over the top although we never see it. Instead, all we see are Roma's feet barely grazing the Anvil's body. I'm not disappointed though because it's Paul Roma after all and with Paul Roma you have zero expectations. Yes folks it's Paul Roma, the Billy Gunn of the early '90s. Heels beat on Anvil and it's about as exciting as the senior bowling tour. Roma hits the chinlock again as I feel sorry for Bret Hart that he had to watch this stuff from up close. False tag leads to Roma putting him in a side headlock now. Wow, that Roma is amazing! Note heavy sarcasm. Heel miscommunication leads to Anvil tagging in Bret as he cleans house with a double noggin knocker. Neidhart recovers to nail a shoulderblock that Mooney calls "two big elbows" even though it wasn't even close to being his elbows. I guess his elbows moved up to where his shoulders are. Ah well, at least Mooney's not as annoying as Todd Pettengill. Bret gets the small package on Roma, Hercules reverses that and Anvil reverses THAT to give the Hart Foundation the three count. 1/4* Only because Bret's too good to be in match that's a DUD. After the match the Hart's take a trip to Solid Gold's, the local strip club, where a curious 15-year-old named Johnny C. is asking to be let in. "Yes officer, my name really is Geoffrey Evans and I'm really 21 years old." Ah, memories. I miss my youth.

  • Our next champion is my favourite wrestler during this era, Mr. Perfect. This segment will look at his run as the Intercontinental Champion.

  • We head to the Intercontinental title tournament where Perfect pins Jimmy Snuka with his feet on the ropes. In the finals of the tourney Perfect beats Tito Santana when his manager Bobby Heenan distracts Tito. Perfect gets the rollup for the three count and the IC title.

  • Next up is the tail end of a Mr. Perfect vs. Texas Tornado match for the IC title. Texas Tornado is of course, the late Kerry Von Erich. Tornado catapults Perfect into the corner and follows up with one of my fave old school moves, the claw. He finishes with the spinning tornado punch which Perfect oversells with a spin of his own and Tornado gets the victory to capture the IC title.

  • To the rematch we go with Ted Dibiase as the ring announcer. Ref is down, Heenan revives him with his towel and Perfect hits the Perfect Plex for the three and the IC title.

  • Mr. Perfect vs. The British Bulldog. This is from June 18, 1991 and it's either a TV match or a house show. We join them in progress as they do a test of strength which Bulldog wins of course and Perfect yells out, "Oh you son of a bitch" to a nice reaction from the crowd. Bulldog gets a rollup for two. Sunset flip gets two for Perfect, Bulldog reverses for two of his own and Perfect breaks with the groinius maximus which is Latin for a punch to balls. Then again, maybe it's not. Perfect eats turnbuckle ten times so he hits a mule kick to break it. A kick to the ribs leads to a Boston Crab which Bulldog breaks easily. Standing dropkick sends Bulldog out and his manager, The Coach (some old white guy that's NOT Jonathon Coachman), stomps on him so Bret Hart comes out to save his brother in law. (Umm, they're BOTH his brother-in-law. :) - CRZ) This was during Bret's first push as a babyface and eventually led to a feud with Mr. Perfect. Back in the ring, Perfect hits a snap mare for two. He hits a sleeper that Bulldog reverses by crotching Perfect. During a whip into the ropes Earl Hebner stands in the exact spot where Bulldog is running off the ropes and he takes a weak shoulder sending him to the mat. What is it with all the ref bumps on this tape? Bulldog gets a rollup, Coach tries to interfere but Bret Hart takes him out and counts the three. The announcers say we have a new IC champion but Sean Mooney has zero credibility so nobody listens and instead we just laugh at him. Perfect attacks Bret, Hebner gets up and he throws the match out because Bret was in the ring. See, the Montreal Incident was because of this! Sorry, I had another outburst there but I'm sure somebody watching this would think that. Bret takes Perfect out of the ring with two atomic drops and a back elbow. Those two went on to have a four star match at Summerslam '91. This match was about **3/4 from what I saw and it could have been better with a good finish.

  • Our last feature is on Hulk Hogan. The same Hulk Hogan that had major roles in the Ultimate Warrior and Randy Savage segments. Strap on your seatbelts kiddies because we're in for some Hulkamania excitement here. Yeah, feel it brother.

  • Clip shown of Hogan beating The Iron Shiek at MSG in 1984 to win his first WWF title. After that we see a clip of Hogan beating Randy Savage at WrestleMania V for title number two.

  • We go to WrestleMania VII where Hogan challenges Sgt. Slaughter for the world title. We join in for the closing moments as Slaughter works on the cut on Hogan's head with punches. A clothesline is followed up by the camel clutch. Hogan breaks it so Sarge tries to cover him with the Iraqi flag. Hogan, of course, kicks out and sets up the Hulkamania comeback. He finishes with the punches, the big boot and the leg drop to win his third title. The full match was *3/4 but the crowd loved it because of the Gulf War. Slaughter's career would go nowhere after the war phenomenon ended while Hogan was doing whatever he could to prove to Vinny Mac that he could still draw.

  • Hulk Hogan vs. Sgt. Slaughter. This is a "Desert Storm Match" from June 3, 1991 in Madison Square Garden for Hogan's world title. The stipulation for this one is that anything goes as far as weapons and the referee is outside of the ring so that he count a pinfall or submission if need be. Oh yeah and since Hogan is an American hero he wears army fatigues because he's really serious about this one. The red & yellow gets a day off on this day. We join in progress as Hogan gives Sarge a very weak chairshot to the back. It looks like the chair weighs a ton because Hogan does such a poor job of swinging it. Sarge is bleeding from earlier in the match. Sarge gets control as he audibly calls "leg sweep" and he hits Hogan with the, you guessed it, Russian (Iraqi) leg sweep. Gorilla Monsoon calls it a beauty while I call it sloppy, slow and crappy among other things. Sarge catches Hogan with a weak chair shot to the back followed by a reverse chinlock. He was probably going for the camel clutch but he's either too tired or stupid to apply the hold so we settle for the chinlock. Hogan breaks, Sarge goes shoulder first into the ring post as the camera closes in on the blood stain on his ass. Gee, thanks for that shot. Sarge goes up top but he falls off because he has no business being there. It may have been planned although it was so bad I think it would be too hard to plan that sort of thing. He goes up top again but before he even gets to the top Hogan is there to throw him off. Monsoon calls it a "scud missile" while I call it very ugly. A double clothesline leaves them on the mat for about ten seconds because they need more rest. This whole match has been rest spots! I avoid the fast forward button as Slaugther takes off his boot. Before he can hit Hogan with it the Hulkster throws "fire" in his eyes. Hogan beats him with the boot three times and wins with a horrible looking Camel Clutch as General Adnan, the Sarge's manager, tosses in the towel. DUD This match is the epitome of boredom and I'm glad that they only showed the last five minutes of it because I don't think I could have handled all of it. Hogan tries to tear up the army fatigues but they won't rip and I laugh because I enjoy seeing Hogan struggle. He beats up the heels with the boot as the crowd eats it up.

  • Lord Alfred Hayes closes the tape by saying "cheerio." I remark that we are out of Cheerios so I send my wife to the grocery store. True story. It ended up being 53 minutes so the "60 Action Packed Minutes" thing on the cover is a lie. You bastards! You owe me seven minutes! Sorry about the temper there, I guess I shouldn't have whiskey with my Cheerios.

    Final Thoughts
    This tape is decent but it could be a lot better. The clips they showed for each champion were all good but the featured matches were poor. A match like Mr. Perfect vs. British Bulldog would be perfect if only it had a clean finish and more time. What they showed us was a match that helped advance a Mr. Perfect/Bret Hart storyline that was finished when this tape was released in the winter of '91. It also would have been nice if the Warrior & Savage segments didn't feature Hogan so much.

    If you like Hulk Hogan you should get this tape. If you like watching people not named Hulk Hogan wrestle in matches that end in DQs then this is your tape. Seriously, why would you feature Randy Savage & Mr. Perfect and show matches of theirs that end in disqualification? Is it because everybody not named Hulk Hogan is supposed to look inferior?

    To close this out I will say that although this tape is not great as far as match quality goes it does feature a lot of memorable moments from the late '80s and early '90s. If you haven't seen a lot of that stuff then this tape would be good for you but if you have seen it then it's probably best if you avoid this one.

    Smell ya later,
    John C.
    Big3 Oratory

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