WWE Vintage Collection Report: 10th May 2009
By Shaun Best-Rajah.com Reporter
Hosted by: Mean Gene Okerlund
This week, Lumberjacks, a Texas Tornado match, and a Battle Royal are all promised as we take a look back at unique matches from the 80s that have turned into catalysts of today. Sounds good, so let’s begin.
March 1985: Lumberjack Match
Greg “The Hammer” Valentine w/Jimmy Hart vs Tito Santana
These two were embroiled in a hot feud with Tito coming so close to tasting Intercontinental gold on several occasions. This match was designed so that Valentine had nowhere to run or hide. Both men had the figure four leglock in their arsenal. Gorilla Monsoon and Mean Gene Okerlund are on commentary. Key lumberjacks included Big John Studd, King Kong Bundy, Junkyard Dog, Ricky Steamboat, Jimmy Snuka, Terry Gibbs and Rocky Johnson amongst others. The story of the match was Valentine kept trying to escape. Studd would protect Valentine on the outside, whereas Steamboat, JYD and others prevented Valentine from hopping the guardrail or escaping to the back. After sustaining early Valentine elbows and a chinlock, Santana takes control with a clothesline, several forearms, an atomic drop and kneelift. Santana stops Valentine from squirming out by pulling him back in by the trunks. Santana gets a nearfall from a suplex. Valentine yanks the hair to prevent a figure four attempt, but Santana forearms him down, then cinches in the hold. Jimmy Hart distracts the referee, allowing Studd to pull Valentine to the ropes. Santana breaks to tussle with Studd. Valentine and Santana exchange fists, before a Valentine shoulder tackle knocks both men silly. Valentine manages to fall on top of Santana and the referee counts to three. Valentine gets a lucky escape and is helped to the back by Bundy and Hart. This was a good match, with Valentine playing the classic old school chickenshit heel role to the hilt. Everyone clamouring for Tito’s eventual title win were finally rewarded, when four months later, he finally beat Valentine in a cage match. Winner: GREG “THE HAMMER” VALENTINE.
January 1985: Texas Tornado Match
Rowdy Roddy Piper & Bob Orton Jnr vs
Superfly Jimmy Snuka & The Junkyard Dog
The rules of this match basically allows for all four men to be in the ring at once. Gene and Gorilla have the call once more. Snuka sends Orton outside, before catching Piper trying to bail. While Snuka takes the fight to Piper, JYD clotheslines Orton. Piper sends Snuka into the ringpost. Piper and Orton take turns briefly double teaming Snuka then JYD. Snuka fights back with a double noggin knocker. Piper scrambles over a crouched JYD, allowing Snuka to pound away. The fight briefly spills up the entrance aisle. Inside, Piper and Orton execute double chinlocks and sleepers. JYD and Snuka sink down to their knees, then link hands to throw Piper and Orton together and get free. JYD whips Orton into the corner upside down. Piper takes JYD down with a kneelift. Snuka receives a double suplex. As Piper bites JYD’s head in the corner, Orton unconvincingly jumps off the top rope into Snuka’s knees. In truth, Orton landed way before he made contact with Snuka. Piper goes to throttle Snuka, but gets thrown outside by the Superfly. As JYD gives Orton an inverted atomic drop, Piper puts Snuka out of commission with another throw into the ringpost. Piper trips JYD as he runs the ropes. Orton drops a knee into the back and pins him for the 1-2-3. Post match sees Snuka and JYD stalk Piper and Orton to the back. This was a clumsy brawl and sloppy in parts. Winners: ROWDY RODDY PIPER & BOB ORTON JNR.
20 Man Over The Top Rope Battle Royal
Okerlund dubs this as a favourite of the WWE universe. I love Battle Royals. Monsoon is the sole announcer, putting the match over as dangerous but lucrative to the winner. This match was broadcast on MTV during the Rock ‘N’ Wrestling period, and was on the same show as Wendi Richter upsetting Fabulous Moolah for the Women’s Title. Participants were: Sgt Slaughter, The Iron Sheik, Dick Murdoch, Adrian Adonis, Rene Goulet, Tony Garea, Antonio Inoki, Tito Santana, Bob Orton Jnr, Paul Orndorff, The Wild Samoans (Afa and Sika), Samu, Ron Shaw, Jose Luis Rivera, Butcher Vachon, Chief Jay Strongbow, Steve Lombardi (pre-Brooklyn Brawler) Charlie Fulton and Terry Daniels. Most of these had competed in earlier matches on the card. Sika takes time out from fighting Paul Orndorff to pick his own nose. Gross! We skip ahead a few minutes and miss several eliminations – a fact Monsoon acknowledges. Already this has my back-up, as I hate watching incomplete Battle Royals. Six men (Sheik, Orndorff, Strongbow, Vachon, Fulton and Daniels) are the ones missing. Inoki crotches Adonis on the top rope, with an enziguiri kick sending him out of the ring, but not via the top rope. Monsoon calls the WWF the hottest ticket in town, which screams of comparisons to those ads you see and hear today, dubbing WWE the best value in entertainment. Monsoon gets Adonis and Murdoch mixed up briefly. Goulet nearly gets Slaughter out, but one of the Wild Samoans saves him. Slaughter backdrops Adonis out, then the Samoans help dump out Murdoch, who in turn had just pushed Slaughter out. We’re down to 11, but poor camera angles mean we completely miss the eliminations of a Wild Samoan, Santana and Lombardi. Shaw eliminates Riviera. With seven men clearly left in, Monsoon claims there are only six. As we see Inoki backdrop Samu out, the camera fails to pick up the other Wild Samoan going out. The final five are: Orton, Inoki, Garea, Goulet and Shaw. Orton slams Inoki but misses an elbow drop. Inoki eliminates Orton following an enziguiri kick. Goulet and Shaw combine to eliminate Garea. Inoki ducks several double clothesline attempts. Shaw hooks Inoki from behind, but Inoki ducks a charge and Goulet forearms Shaw out. Inoki hits a (messy) enziguiri on Goulet then throws him out to win. Monsoon puts over Inoki’s experience afterwards. Nice to see the NJPW owner in a WWF ring, who at this point was the WWF Martial Arts champion, beating Charlie Fulton in a title defence earlier in the night. In terms of overall presentation, the skip in time so soon after the start and shoddy camerawork, this ranks amongst one of the worst Battle Royals I’ve seen. Winner: ANTONIO INOKI.
Jesse “The Body” Ventura vs Tony Garea
Beforehand, Okerlund coins Ventura’s phrase of ‘win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat.’ This is the first time I’ve seen Ventura wrestle. Lord Alfred Hayes joins Monsoon at the announce table. Garea spends several minutes working the arm with a top wristlock, drop shot across the top rope and legdrop. Ventura traps Garea’s head in-between the ropes to dish out some punishment. Hayes exaggerates the fact that the ropes are made of steel covered in plastic. Ventura chokes Garea along the top rope as he blows a kiss to the crowd. Garea ducks a clothesline, and punches Ventura, who tries to call for a time-out. Garea ignores him, landing kicks and a head ram in the corner. Garea tries to hook an abdominal stretch, but Ventura spins around near to the ropes, sending Garea out to the apron. Garea fires back with a sunset flip and cross body for a couple of nearfalls. Garea counters a slam with a waistlock, but Ventura runs Garea’s head into the top turnbuckle and drops an elbow for the win. Good match and showing from both. Winner: JESSE “THE BODY” VENTURA.
Superfly Jimmy Snuka & “Golden Boy” Arnold Skaaland
vs Don Muraco & Captain Lou Albano
Time for the Main event and some more Jimmy Snuka. Sim Snuka must be a happy viewer. Both Snuka and Muraco were teaming with their respective managers at the time to try and resolve their respective feud. Pat Patterson helps Monsoon with the commentary. Skaaland shocks Muraco with a small package. Muraco takes a break outside. Albano no-sells a Snuka shot. Muraco uses his power with a side headlock and shoulder tackle. Snuka retaliates with speed and agility to leapfrog and chop Muraco down. A leaping headbutt gets Snuka a two count. Snuka works a brief chinlock. Snuka forces a tag to the smug Albano, who uses a low shot to Snuka’s thigh to get the advantage. The chubby Albano plods along with lots of punches. Behind the referee’s back, Muraco drops a knee across Snuka’s face from the top rope. Albano and Muraco work over Snuka with more punching and several kneelifts. Snuka fights back with a headbutt and chops to Muraco. As Snuka focuses on Albano, Muraco dropkicks the Superfly from behind. Muraco takes an Albano punch that was intended for Snuka to turn the tide. Skaaland runs in to punch on Albano in the corner, while the camera just catches Snuka land a top rope bodypress on Muraco for the win. After the match, Snuka bangs Albano and Muraco’s heads together to clear the ring. Monsoon notes Albano taking a whack at Patterson on his way to the back, but guess what the camera’s missed it again. Most of this ten minute match aired, which was largely uneventful, slow and boring. The time should have gone to the rest of the Battle Royal. It’s a shame that Skaaland didn’t see much action. He was largely a non-factor here. Bad match. Winners: SUPERFLY JIMMY SNUKA & “GOLDEN BOY” ARNOLD SKAALAND.
Okerlund signs off to end the show.
A frustrating show. On one hand, Valentine vs Santana and Garea vs Ventura were good and ultimately the best things on the show. However, having already touched on the faults of the Battle Royal, the other two bouts were sloppy and mainly boring. The slow, plodding, punch, kick offense that made up these matches wasn’t even that well executed either. See you next week.
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