wrestling / Video Reviews

The Name on the Marquee: Demolition (1989)

December 27, 2012 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
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The Name on the Marquee: Demolition (1989)  

-Pre-feature stuff: The SummerSlam ’89 videocassette is coming September 19! Feel the heat…but not the heat from smoking, because Bret Hart is against it. Be a survivor and don’t smoke!

-We lead off with clips of Demolition dishing out punishment to appropriate music…

-Your hosts are Ax & Smash.

-From the second-to-last match of the longest damn show ever, and you can tell by the way the entrance themes echo over total silence that it’s the second-to-last match.

-Smash smashes Martel down and then tries to slam him, only for Tito to block it. That leads to a four-man brawl in the ring and Strike Force winds up clearing Ax from the ring and double-teaming Smash. Strike Force works Smash’s arm. Ax tags in and they work his arm too. Smash returns and Demolition hits a move similar to a Hart Attack in the corner and wail on him for a while.

-Powerslam by Ax gets two. Tito tries to punch back but takes a boot to the head. Smash suplexes Tito and the crowd has been surprisingly awake and cheering for Demolition through this entire match. Ax axes Tito a little bit, but Tito gets the flying forearm out of nowhere and both guys are out. Double tags and Martel lights into Smash. He takes care of both opponents easily and clamps the Boston crab on Smash. Ax tries to break it but gets pounded down by Tito and blasted with another flying forearm. Fuji comes up to the apron and Tito turns his attention to beating the shit out of him. Fuji drops his cane in the process and Ax grabs it and KOs Martel with it. Smash recovers and rolls over to get the pin and capture the belts. 1 for 1. Good match that launched one team into the stratosphere and left the other one for dead.

-From SummerSlam ’88. Jimmy, hurt about being fired by the Harts, is at ringside to avenge his former charges.

-Ax & Bret lock up to start and Ax gives him a hard shove into the ropes. Ax axes away at him and bodyslams him, but misses the elbowdrop on his follow-through. Bret gets a forearm off the ropes and goes for an early pin, but Ax kicks out easily because, Gorilla notes, “He was ready to come.” Pretty sure he didn’t mean to phrase it that way.

-Smash tags in and gets caught in an arm-wringer. Anvil tags in with an axehandle and works the arm some more. Shoulderblock by Anvil dazes Smash, but Ax gets a knee to the back from the ring apron to turn the tide. Ax re-enters and axes away again, then tags in Smash for some smashing. Anvil blocks a backdrop with an uppercut and tags in Bret. Bret knocks Ax out of the ring, but Ax is smart enough to tag out as he falls out. Smash immediately eats some punches, but reverses an Irish whip and Bret does his trademark hard ram into the corner.

-Demolition takes turns distracting the referee while the other attacks. Ax rams the shoulder into a turnbuckle then stomps it on the mat. Smash tags in with the most logical move, a shoulderbreaker. Stepover, uh, fingerhold works the arm a bit more. Ax re-enters and stretches the muscles a bit, then distracts the referee a bit as Smash takes him out of the ring and posts Bret.

-Commentators talk all the time about tag teams having strategies and game plans or whatever, but this is one of the rare times where a tag team is working a match as if they planned this whole thing. It’s good stuff. Double clothesline puts both men on the mat, but the referee is distracted and won’t allow Anvil in the ring when he gets a tag behind his back. (JJ Dillon said that when he jumped ship to the WWF, one of the new things that he learned from Vince was “Don’t have tag team matches back to back on your card,” and this is a good example of why. It’s been about 90 minutes now, so the crowd has—hopefully—forgotten that they already saw that spot.)

-Anvil finally gets the tag for real and clears the ring. Someone-should-steal this spot of the night as Anvil goes to the ropes and Bret, standing on the apron, slingshots him over the top rope on top of Ax. Back in the ring, the Harts destroy Smash but only get a two-count. Bret gets a backbreaker but Ax runs in with a pin breaker. Mr. Fuji jumps on the apron and Anvil comes in to take care of him, but Ax grabs the megaphone from Jimmy Hart and K.O.s Bret, and that’s it. Demolition retains. Not a classic but a good match and a good heat segment by the heels. By the way, Meltzer says that they rehearsed this match before letting the crowd in just to make absolutely sure they had the timing down because the finish was just complex enough. It worked. 2 for 2.


-From Survivor Series. I hope we get to a new match soon, typing this review has been way too easy so far. Joined in progress with only the Powers, Bulldogs, Conquistadors, and Demolition remaining.

-Conquistadors get absolutely destroyed by the Bulldogs and the Powers of Pain while Jesse correctly observes how weirdly empty the ring now looks with only eight people out there. Demolition handles Davey Boy Smith fairly well before making the mistake of tagging the Conquistadors back in. They keep beating on Conquy, but then accidentally knock him back to his own corner again, and Ax is getting pretty fired up, pounding on the Barbarian and tossing him to the floor.

-Conquistador comes back in and absolutely nothing will put them away. I’m guessing that full body suit and mask get pretty damn smelly after 45 minutes, come to think of it. Smash is able to tag in and connects with a clothesline that puts away Dynamite and sends the Bulldogs packing.

-Powers of Pain are the only team left from their group. Warlord tries to finish them off but misses a charge. Demolition manages to keep Warlord on their side of the ring and take control pretty decisively while Mr. Fuji keeps jumping on the apron and waving his cane for some reason. Smash gets sent into the ropes and Fuji yanks the rope down, causing Smash to fall out and getting him counted out. Fuji screws his own team.

-Ax is super-pissed and takes it out on Fuji, who denies pulling the rope down even though it was fairly obvious. Fuji takes a shot at Ax with the cane, but Smash has recovered by then, so the Demos gang up on him and slam him to the floor. Powers of Pain feel sorry for Fuji, help him to his feet, and bring him over to their corner (with the Conquistadors hilariously celebrating in the ring because it takes so long that it looks like the POP might get counted out).

-Powers of Pain go back to work on the Conquistadors. Fuji hooks a leg from the outside, and that’s enough to finally put away the jobbers and get the duke for the Powers of Pain. The Powers celebrate by lifting Fuji on their shoulders and Demolition returns to clear the ring, which totally confuses the crowd because they thought Fuji was turning face. 3 for 3, by the way.

-A fan blares an airhorn throughout Nikolai’s singing, which is equally funny and annoying. Mike McGuirk’s introduction and a quick check of History of WWE reveal something interesting about this match. Mike introduces Demolition as being accompanied by Mister Fuji, but they come to the ring alone. This match was taped BEFORE the face turn and then saved for after the turn. The fact that they’re facing dirty commies make them the de facto faces for this match anyway, though.

-Ax & Smash trade off working Volkoff’s arm. Zhukov tags in and gets booted and clotheslined down. He gets tossed from the ring as Demolition just squashes their opponents into total goo. Bolsheviks don’t even have Slick with them here, so they’re pretty much jobbers. Funny bit; this is from apparently very late in a TV taping because this crowd isn’t reacting to one damn thing, but then Smash yells “Ya stinkin’ commie!” and it gets a pop.

-Zhukov keeps getting pounded and snapmared and fuck-all-nothing is happening in this match. Zhukov goes to the eyes and Smash sells it by tagging out immediately and Ax lays a beating on the red man. And then they do the same fucking thing with Ax. Volkoff does one offensive move and Ax tags out immediately.

-Pretty obvious edit takes us to a pier sixer. Ax brings Volkoff over the top and out to the floor, and a Decapitator finishes Zhukov clean as a sheet. 3 for 4. Too-long squash.

-Smash and Hammer start. Smash atomic drops him, and Heenan marvels that Smash “picked him up like a four-year-old child.” What bizarre childhood did you have where a trusted adult was giving you an atomic drop, Bobby?

-Honky gets double-teamed, but Honky manages to cut the ring in half and Jimmy’s boys get the upper hand with teamwork of their own. Ax weirdly counters an attempted backdrop by gently grabbing Valentine by the head and placing him on his ass. We have a donnybrook and the referee gets bumped in the midst of it.

-Wrestler-turned referee Ronnie Garvin comes to the other referee’s aid; meanwhile, Jimmy tosses his megaphone into the ring and Honky puts it to good use; Ronnie sees it and gives Demolition the win by DQ. 4 for 5. As good a match as you can ask for with only about five minutes.

TAG TEAM TITLES: DEMOLITION (Champions) vs. BRAINBUSTERS (with Bobby Heenan)
-From the same TV taping as the previous match, which looks weird.

-Smash clears the ring early on and tags in Ax. Ax annihilates Arn and Smash tags in for double-teaming. Smash “grinds it out” according to Vince. By the way, I like how the Brainbusters’ two main feuds in their year with the WWF were with teams that were take-offs of NWA teams. Coincidence or design?

-Tully comes off the turnbuckles and gets caught in a bearhug and rammed into the corner. Irish whip and Tully does his own version of a Flair flip out to the floor, where Smash press slams him back into the ring. Back in, Smash clotheslines him right back out and Tully’s body lands full-force on Bobby Heenan’s head.

-Busters get an edge and keep control by double-taming Smash. Spinebuster by Arn, but Smash kicks out. Tully taunts Ax on the apron, which is just a ploy for the referee to hold Ax back while the Busters gang up on Smash a little more. Smash gets tossed to the floor. Back in the ring, a brawl erupts, as it tends to do in these tag team matches, and Joey Marella gets launched across the ring by Ax in the brawl, getting Demolition disqualified. Busters win and Demolition retains. 5 for 6. Good bout.

-Ax gets an early advantage on the Warlord and Smash tags in to add his share of smashing. Demos take turns taunting Fuji on the apron during their offense, and thankfully, the Trump Plaza crowd is being nice and deathly silent again so we can be sure to hear every word. Gorilla whips out a great term, “mongrel team,” to describe tag team partners who don’t usually work together.

-Demolition has had 100% of the offense here while Gorilla & Jesse speculate that they’re suffering from “first-time Wrestlemania jitters,” something they’ve apparently discussed before. Come on, it’s only the fifth one. Seriously?

-Powers finally turn things around and Fuji immediately tags in with a falling headbutt to Ax’s stomach. Barbarian returns and boots Ax down. Flying tackle by Barbarian gets the crowd’s attention momentarily.

-Lukewarm tag to Smash and he takes care of both powers. Referee gets distracted while Fuji pulls out his salt. It goes into Warlord’s face by mistake, and Fuji gets caught in the Decapitator. Demolition retains. 5 for 7. Not what I remember.

The 411: Come on, it's Demolition! How can you pass this up?
Final Score:  7.1   [ Good ]  legend

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Adam Nedeff

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