Now, once again I have another wrestling DVD review this week, though this one takes a different tack from my other reviews, because I’m not doing a match-by-match recap this time. Why? Well, the review will explain.
The DVDs recap some of Shawn Michaels’ wrestling career, from his tag career, to the beginnings of his solo run, to his return to the WWE. Read more
So, I’m trying to watch some more wrestling stuff, and I’ve gotten a few wrestling DVDs in, which I’ll be reviewing over the next couple weeks. First up is more of a documentary focused DVD, based around various managers in the WWE’s history… as if you couldn’t tell in the title.
The Premise: Hosted by Todd Grisham, we take a walk back memory lane and discuss some of the greatest managers in the WWE’s history, and what made them great, as heels, or as faces. We have interviews with the managers in question, as well as with various WWE Superstars talking about those particular managers, and what makes a good manager in general. The individual mangers who get profiled include Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, Captain Lou Albano, Paul Bearer, Jim Cornette, Paul Heyman, Sunny, “Classy” Freddie Blassie, “The Sensational” Sherrie Martel, and “The Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart, The Grand Wizard Of Wrestling, and The Lovely Miss Elizabeth, as well as a general profile of female managers/valets in wrestling (with particular mention given to Debra, Chyna, Trish Stratus and Rena Mero). Read more
Well, after much delay, I’ve decided to continue with my wrestling recaps and reviews. This won’t be as in depth as my Wrestlemania reviews, and won’t be done as regularly. Nonetheless, I’m gonna give this a try. First up is The Best of IWA Wrestling Vol. 2. As a slight note, this promotion is not the IWA promotion that’s currently active in Puerto Rico and Japan, nor IWA Mid-South. This is a separate promotion that was active in the Ohio area from the 1970s to some undetermined point.
Dates for the matches are not provided, though they’re all from TV tapings. Our commentary team is Lee Marshall and Diamond Dallas Page (from some point in his career between going from managing to actively wrestling).
Match 1: “Hitman” Tommy Stetson vs. “Lil’ Cricket” David Isley.
This is from the first round of the tournament to determine the first IWA Junior Heavyweight Champion. We get some chained standing switches before Stetson reaches the ropes. Isley locks Stetson in a rest hold (a standing headlock), which he chains into a hip toss to ground Stetson. Stetson gets out and tries to build momentum and gets an arm-drag and then a headlock for his trouble. Isley cradles for 2. Stetson and Isley get in the corner and exchange blows before Isley takes the worst of a turnbuckle splash. Rather, it was meant to be a turnbuckle splash but Isley started to come out of the corner before he got hit. Not sure if that’s deliberate or mis-communication. Read more
We get a brief recap of RVD’s run in WCW. He’d already been wrestling in Florida for a year as Rob Van Dam before WCW hired him. At the time Bill Watts was the head booker, and didn’t like the “Rob Van Dam” name and wanted to use something different. As RVD had already gotten some mention in the wrestling press (I’m presuming Wrestling Observer and in Dave Metzler’s magazine) under the Rob Van Dam name he wanted to use something similar ultimately settling on the name Robbie V. Rob was apparently undefeated and didn’t particularly have any programs with anybody.
Date: April 5, 1992
Location: The Hoosier Dome – Indianapolis, Indiana.
Our hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby The Brain Heenan.
A little background: “HBK” Shawn Michaels has finally, and dramatically, split off from The Rockers by super-kicking Marty Janetty through a plate-glass window during Brutus Beefcake’s talk-show segment, “The Barber Shop”. Also, “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair jumped ship from WCW to the WWF, with the Big Gold Belt, and won the WWF Championship, ultimately leading to Randy Savage coming out of enforced retirement to try and win the belt back – well, that and the nekkid pictures of Miss Elizabeth that Flair said he had.
WWF Heavyweight Champion: “Nature Boy” Ric Flair
WWF Intercontinental Champion: “Rowdy” Roddy Piper.
WWF Tag Team Champions: Money Inc. (Ted DiBiase & Irwin R. Shyster w/ Jimmy Hart)
The Time: March 24th, 1991
The Place: The Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena
The Commentators: Gorilla Monsoon, to be joined by Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, a couple of guest commentators.
WWF Heavyweight Champion: Sgt. Slaughter (heel)
WWF Tag Team Champions: The Hart Foundation (Bret “Hitman” Hart & Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart) (faces)
WWF Intercontinetal Champion: “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig (heel)
WWF Womens Championship: Inactive
Being that Wrestlemania is stateside again, we start off the show with a performance of “America The Beautiful,” this time by Willie Nelson. Jesse Ventura split ties for the WWF between the last Wrestlemania and this one, leading to Monsoon going with a series of Guest Commentators over the evening – sort of, we do get one color guy for most of the show, but we have a few guests pop in, like our first match of the evening – with “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan on commentary.
I’m doing a few different things with this Wrestlemania recap. By this time Wrestlemania had become a big deal, as had Wrestlemania Debuts, so from here on I’ll be keeping track of Wrestlemania Debuts. A few people of note who debuted at Wrestlemanias prior to this: Bret Hart and “Macho Man” Randy Savage at Wrestlemania II, Ted DiBiase & The Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania IV.
Prior to Wrestlemania V, the gold had gotten between the Mega Powers, with the two men’s egos both backstage and on screen colliding, leading to a heel turn by Savage. Furthermore, the Intercontinental Title, once held by Honky Tonk Man in his legendary title reign, was lost to the Ultimate Warrior in about 45 seconds, completely burying HTM. Finally, the Hart Foundation turned face, and turned on their former manager, Jimmy Hart. Furthermore, Ted DiBiase, after continually failing to win or buy the WWF Heavyweight Championship, decided to introduce his own belt instead – the diamond-encrusted Million Dollar Championship. Also, Demolition turned face when Mr. Fuji turned on them, instead siding with the tag team of the Powers of Pain (The Barbarian and The Warlord).
Now, we come to April 2, 1989, and Wrestlemania V, again returning to Trump Plaza at Atlantic City. Leading us in, singing “America The Beautiful” is WWF Women’s Champion, Rockin’ Robin. While she works her way through the song the song, let’s think for a moment. Rockin’ Robin is the WWF Women’s Champion. She’s not defending the belt. She is, however, singing “America The Beautiful” which has previously been sung by Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin.
Our hosts this evening are once again Jesse “The Body” Ventura on color commentary and Gorilla Monsoon doing Play-by-play announcing, as we go to our opening match. Read more
After Wrestlemania III, Andre stayed heel, but changed his loyalties from the camp of Bobby “The Brain” Heenan to the corporation of wrestler and manager “The Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase. Meanwhile, Randy Savage turned face and gained as a close friend and ally Hulk Hogan, forming the Mega Powers. Additionally, Ricky Steamboat lost the IC title to Honky Tonk Man, and the Hart Foundation lost the belts to Strike Force (made up of Tito Santana and Rick Martel).
Now, prior to Wrestlemania IV, in a stunning upset, Andre beat Hogan, winning the WWF Heavyweight title, ending Hogan’s 3+ year reign. In an even bigger swerve for the time, Andre turned around and sold the title to Ted Dibiase. However, coming to the rescue was Jack Tunney, WWF Commissioner, who declared the title change invalid and vacated the title. The new WWF champion would be determined at a Wrestlemania IV in a tournament.
I’ve already given my thoughts on tournaments, with my ROH “Road to the Title” review, and I’ve already mentioned there that they tend to suck, by the nature of the setup – since the wrestlers have to hold back to avoid burning out. That said, “Road to the Title” only got ***. Wrestlemania III, which had Steamboat vs. Savage, only got *** because of the crappy undercard. Yeah. This is going to suck – and I’m all out of booze.
So, kick back and relax, because there’s schadenfreude ahead. Read more
As of Wrestlemania III, our champions coming in were
WWF World Champion: Hulk Hogan – still champion without any breaks in his reign.
WWF Intercontinental Champion: “Macho Man” Randy Savage – Randy (which I failed to note in my Wrestlemania II review) won the belt through shenangans involving then-referee Danny Davis.
WWF Tag Team Champions: The Hart Foundation (Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart & Bret “Hitman” Hart) – managed by “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart. The Hart Foundation won the belts from the British Bulldogs through shenanigans involving ref Danny Davis. The two aforementioned incidents lead to Danny being suspended as a referee for “Life + 10 years” (kayfabe) with Danny becoming a heel wrestler, managed by Jimmy Hart.
WWF Woman’s Champion: Fabulous Moolah.
Also, the feuds of note, coming in.
Hercules and Billy Jack Hayes got in a feud over the Full Nelson, with the dispute being over which wrestler was better than the other at performing the hold.
Harley Race won the first King of the Ring tournament, started calling himself “King Harley Race” and started demanding that wrestlers bow to him. Junkyard Dog refused, this lead to a Loser Must Bow match between the 2.
After taking a leave of absence for a movie, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper found that Piper’s Pit had been replaced by Adrian Adonis’s “Flower Shop” Segment. Piper trashed the set, restarted the pit, and became embroiled in a feud with Adonis and his manager, Jimmy Hart.
Last, but certainly not least – in a surprising shock, Andre The Giant turned heel, aligning himself with Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, and with Andre attacking Hogan, ripping off his shirt and crucifix necklace.
Anyway, this year the event is being held at the Pontiac Silverdome, and, if I recall correctly, introduced the chariot thingies that would be used to carry wrestlers to the ring, rather then having to walk the long distance from the entrance area to the ring. Vince McMahon is in the ring, wearing his Mandelbrot Set tuxedo again, to introduce us to Wrestlemania 3 and introduce Aretha Franklin, who perform’s “America The Beautiful.” Read more