wrestling / Video Reviews

The Name on the Marquee: WWF Fan Favorites (1989)

January 15, 2013 | Posted by Adam Nedeff

-Your host is Sean Mooney. He lays out the concept; all of the matches were previously untelevised, and…here’s the important part…all are matches that fans requested.

KOKO B. WARE vs. BROOKLYN BRAWLER
And they’ve shit on the very concept of the video in only the first match. Between 1986-93, this match was shown on television at least 164 times, and no sane fan could have conceivably asked for it. They even have a planted fan gushing about how “awesome” it would be to see this match. Nobody with a moustache could possibly have any desire to…you know what…I’m gonna stop harping on this. I’m already too tired.

-Brawler attacks before the bell and connects with an uppercut. Koko rebounds with a dropkick that sends Brawler out to the floor. Tony Schiavone and Alfred Hayes compare strengths and weaknesses on commentary and Alfred observes of the Brawler, “When it comes to wrestling, you’ve got him beat.”

-Koko misses a charge and goes down. Brawler goes after the eyes and then boots down the Birdman. Brawler follows him out and very gingerly steps around Frankie’s perch to ram Koko headfirst into a table. Stupid bit to turn the tide, with Koko blocking a punch and slooooooooooowwwwly bringing back his other hand for a punch of his own, and Brawler stands there and stares at the fist, as though paralyzed with terror, until contact is finally made.

-Brawler keeps fighting back with choking and a slam for two. Brawler shows us the shitty way to do a camel clutch and Koko does a push-up to break the hold, causing Brawler to tumble forward and hang himself on the rope. That looked cool, actually. Koko makes the big comeback. Another nifty variation on an ordinary spot; Koko does the ten punches standing on the ropes, and faceplants Brawler on the way down. Missile dropkick and the ghostbuster finishes. 0 for 1. Picked up steam toward the end, but man, this was like seeing somebody flunk a test. Brawler was apparently charged with carrying most of the match, and it just didn’t happen.

DUSTY RHODES vs GREG “The Hammer” VALENTINE (with Jimmy Hart)
-This has to be the very beginning of Dusty’s run, because the crowd doesn’t react at all when his entrance theme starts up, but they go nuts when Mike McGuirk finally tells them it’s Dusty. He doesn’t even have the polka dots yet. I can buy into this as a fan request because this early into Dusty’s arrival, Dusty vs. anybody would have been a dream match.

-Shoving match goes Dusty’s way and he taunts Greg with a celebratory wobble. Valentine retaliates with an arm wringer and Dusty breaks it with an impressive elbow/wobble combo. Forearms by Greg, but Dusty no sells it all and lays into Greg with an elbow and an axehandle. Valentine gets the upper hand and goes for a rear chinlock.

-Dusty slides out and they engage in fisticuffsmanship until Dusty gets the advantage back. Dusty chops Greg down—complete with a cute added touch where Dusty frames Greg with his hands first to make sure he’s hitting him just right.

-Dusty tries to lock in his own figure four but Valentine avoids it. Valentine tries to apply his and Dusty rolls him…for two. I honestly expected that to finish. Back to the chinlock by Valentine. Dusty flops up and throws punches from every angle to daze Greg. Greg counters a charge with a boot to the head and chokes away.

-Valentine distracts the referee and Jimmy Hart sneaks up to the top turnbuckle and takes aim with his megaphone. Ronnie Garvin, referee for the moment, runs to ringside, pulls Jimmy, and holds him in his arms like a baby to prevent further interference, and Valentine is so dumbfounded by this turn of events that he’s susceptible to a roll-up. Dream gets the win. Ronnie Garvin raises Dusty’s hand afterward and says “Hey, remember how the last time we saw each other, I was betraying you for cash?” And Dusty’s all like, “Dath okay, daddeh.” 1 for 2. Not half bad, which means it was at least half good.

HART FOUNDATION vs TWIN TOWERS (with Slick)
-Bossman starts with Anvil. I’m thinking this is VERY soon after the SNME cage match because you can actually still see a cut on Bossman’s forehead. Anvil works the arm and Bret tags in to do the same. Sudden thought as I watch this: Did Bossman deliberately put pit stains on his shirts to look more heelish, or did Vince make him start wearing deodorant when he turned face?

-Bret whips Akeem into the ropes and Anvil trips him up, then promptly denies it. That was a neat touch that the Harts and Demolition both had about their arsenal; even after they turned face, they were still sorta dicks. Bret then gets trapped in the wrong corner and gets attacked by both Towers and Slick,. I kinda wish Vince McMahon & Jesse Ventura were doing commentary because Jesse would be all over that bit for being Bret getting what he deserved and hearing Vince whine in response would have been hilarious. Damn, I miss those two on commentary.

-Double avalanche by the Towers, which was such a great idea for a finisher and they never used it in that capacity for some reason. Bossman goes for a bearhug. Bret breaks but a Big Boss boot brings Bret back to his back. Akeem tags in and applies a bearhug of his own, and Anvil sneaks in with an axehandle to break it.

-Bossman tags in and sells his ass off for a series of elbows by Bret, but he brings the Hit Man back down to the mat. Akeem tries an avalanche and Bret moves out of the way, staying alive just a little longer. Bossman tries his own avalanche and goes above and beyond the call of duty; not only does Bret duck, but Bossman sells the turn of events by diving balls-first onto the top turnbuckle and collapsing on the mat.

-That’s enough for Bret to finally make the tag. Anvil Irish whips the Towers into each other. Double dropkick by the Harts. Anvil slingshots Bret on top of Akeem and Bossman breaks that pin. The whole brawl spills out to the floor and we have a double count-out. Harts get the moral victory by handcuffing Slick to the ropes, slapping him around, and wailing on Akeem with the Bossman’s nightstick. Bret taunts Slick with the keys to the handcuffs, then sticks the keys in his tights and leaves. 2 for 3. Kinda wish they had gone all the way and turned this into a feud, because I could have watched that match five or six more times.

TITO SANTANA vs MR. PERFECT
-I’m a fan of the fan who requested this match. 3 for 4. Next match…

-Wait, what? You actually want a recap? It’s Tito and Perfect, come on. Spoiler alert, it’s going to be a really fucking good match. 3 for 4. If I did star ratings, it would be, like, 4 ¼ stars, I’m thinking. So, next match…

-Okay, fine. Lock-up turns into a side headlock for Tito. Perfect sends him into the ropes and Tito meets him with a shoulderblock and a beel. Back to the side headlock. Tito “rings the bell” and smacks Perfect out to the floor. Back in, Perfect gets the advantage and runs through all his greatest hits, like the necksnap and the kneelift.

-Abdominal stretch as Lord Alfred Hayes goes much further back into Tito’s career than the announcers of this era typically would, talking about his time as Intercontinental Champion and his knee surgery. Neck vice by Perfect and he sends Tito into the corner. He can only get two from that because it’s Tito vs. Perfect and that’s way too early to expect these guys to go home.

-Tito counters a charge and fires right hands until Perfect does his mid-air loopty-loop. He had no choice at that point. Rick Martel shows up to scowl from ringside, distracting Tito momentarily. Flying forearm by Tito looks to finish, but Martel puts Perfect’s foot on the ropes and the referee refuses to finish the count. Atomic drop and a Polish hammer, of all moves, by Tito. He starts to go for the figure four, but Martel distracts, Perfect sneaks up, pulls the tights, and gets three. I’ve seen better Tito-Perfect matches (SNME jumps to mind) but still, 3 for 4. Told you so.

SUPERFLY JIMMY SNUKA vs “Million Dollar Man” TED DIBIASE (with Virgil)
-DiBiase has a big wad of money for Snuka, in exchange for throwing the match; DiBiase says he doesn’t feel like sweating tonight. Snuka refuses the cash, punching him out of the ring and passing the cash out to the front row. Back in the ring, DiBiase realizes that his money is missing and charges at Snuka. Snuka’s ready for him and just beats him all over the ring until DiBiase goes to the floor for a retreat.

-DiBiase keeps trying to get offense in, but just cannot get the ball rolling with anything. Virgil trips him up from the outside. Snuka goes after him and DiBiase sneaks up and rams him into a table to finally turn it around. DiBiase tries to get the pin a few times, but nothing he does can get a three-count. He clotheslines Snuka out to the floor and suplexes him back in for another two.

-DiBiase goes to the second turnbuckle and is greeted by a shot to the gut on his way down. Snuka connects with a headbutt from the second turnbuckle and looks to finish with the top rope splash, but Virgil distracts. DiBiase tries to sneak up but accidentally knocks Virgil off the apron, and Snuka rolls him up and…gets the pin, clean as a sheet! Damn! Not exactly standard protocol for Snuka after 1988. Another good match in a series of ‘em. 4 for 5.

ULTIMATE WARRIOR & KING DUGGAN vs ANDRE THE GIANT & RAVISHING RICK RUDE (with Bobby Heenan)
-Now this I can buy into as something that a fan requested; it looks like a match you’d make in a video game.

LOOOOOOOONG stall session while Heenan complains about the 2×4 until the referee finally pacifies the heels by hiding it under the ring. Why would that make any damn difference? Cute bit by the face side, as Duggan just doesn’t have his heart into wrestling, then puts his hands on the ropes and has Warrior shake them, as if charging Duggan’s battery by doing so.

-Another GREAT bit follows, as Duggan immediately clotheslines Andre and gets him tangled in the ropes, and with Andre trapped, the faces use Rick Rude’s body as a battering ram to knock the wind out of Andre.

-Faces trade off working Rude’s arm and Warrior rams him into the turnbuckle for ten. A dazed Rude goes into the wrong corner, and we get another cute bit with Duggan just staring at Rude until Rude snaps out of his daze and realizes he’s facing the wrong guy. Andre interferes from the apron to get the advantage for his team. Hacksaw fires back and eats a headbutt for his efforts. Andre removes a turnbuckle pad while he’s at it.

-Headlock by Rude and he dry humps the mat for, like, way too long to tighten it up. Both men collide and they’re both out cold, but Andre is so giant that he’s able to hang onto the end of the tag rope, lean forward, and tap Rude’s unconscious body to tag himself in. Smart giant. Giant sits on Duggan a few times, yelling “Hooooo!” each time to haunt him. At Rude’s suggestion, he follows it by swiveling his hips, and Andre can barely contain a smirk while he does it.

-The fickle finger of fate rears its ugly head as Hacksaw ends up ramming Andre into the turnbuckle that Andre himself exposed earlier. Hot tag to Warrior and Warrior, not exactly well-versed in the psychology of the hot tag, runs right in and clamps on a bearhug, immediately sucking the wind out of the crowd. Andre breaks and chokes Warrior. Rude tags in and it turns into a brawl from there. In the confusion, Duggan knocks out Rude with the 2×4 and Warrior follows with a splash to get the three count. 5 for 6. As good a match as you could ask for in any situation where the manager is the best worker.

The 411: Nothing that makes me say "Wow, you need to watch this tape and you need to watch it yesterday!" But still, this is a pretty damn good pile of matches and given a chance to watch it, you should absolutely take the opportunity. Recommended.
 
Final Score:  8.3   [ Very Good ]  legend

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Adam Nedeff

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