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Technico Support's 80's/90s WWF nostaligia tour


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So I've been watching 80's WWF events in order to sate my nostalgia and I've been posting about it in the pro wrestling discussion folder when I realized it should probably go here instead!  So I'll do that and your job is to read if you like, or just skip over it, no big deal.  Enjoy! 

I just finished SummerSlam 88 and started Survivor Series 88.

MegaPowers vs MegaBucks from SummerSlam 88: All I can think of is the cutscene from the WWF Superstars arcade game.  NO ONE CAN BEAT MEGA BUCKS!  Man, Andre's character was a prick in that game.  Really good formula tag team match.  It's fun to watch how they hide Andre here -- he's only in the ring when the heels are getting heat on the faces, while DiBiase is the workhorse holding everything else together.  Andre's singlet-assisted choke is GREAT.  Damn, DiBiase is so good in the ring.  Just like Bret, everything he does is just smooth and awesome.  Did he and Bret ever have a singles match?  Babyfaces win when Elizabeth takes off her skirt to distract the heels.  Apocryphal wrestling story: Liz was supposed to strip to a bikini (as mentioned in promos leading to the show) but Macho vetoed it.  That would have made more sense w/r/t distracting the heels who, in this case, look more mildly annoyed than actually being distracted and being all AWOOOOOGAAAHHHH like that cartoon wolf.  Points to Jesse for reffing the match in dad Reeboks, grey jeans, a durag, and a Murph and the Magictones cosplay shirt.  I, too, enjoyed The Blues Brothers.  I still need to know what Jedi Mind Trickery the Hulkster employed to get the heavyweight champion of the world to wear red and yellow and look like Hulks's mini me lil' buddy instead of the ostensibly top guy in the company.

On to the Survivor Series 88 (or Survivor Series, season 2, episode one if you're Peacockin'), where teams of five strive to survive!

Oh thank you God and Jesus and Mr. McMahon for a return to Jesse on commentary after having to deal with Billy Graham throughout the previous show.

It's hard to describe elimination matches in terms of "work" because of the structure and just how throwaway all this shit is, so I'm just doing stray observations and body hair jokes.

Warrior, Sam Houston, Beefcake, Blue Blazer, & Jim Brunzell vs HTM, Ron Bass & DJ EZ Rock, Danny Davis, Valentine, & Bad News: Brunzell is subbing for Muraco, who was fired in October.  All those roids for nothing.  Did Brunzell sell his boots?  He's wearing high top sneakers and high socks.  Owen gets to do one or two good lucha things.  The Dream Team EXPLODES.  What's your favorite pejorative for Jim Hellwig?  The Ultimate Roider OR The Anabolic Warrior?   Match comes down to Warrior vs Valentine and Bass.  He finishes both with (checks notes) running double axhandles.  Because clearly neither of these vets was going up for a fucking gorilla press.  Warrior used acrylic facepaint and what's not gone by the end of the bout is just hanging off his face like toilet paper stuck to your shoe.  My dude needed to consult with Mr. Eadie and Mr. Darsow, whose paint game was strong and they knew greasepaint was where it's at.

PoP, Rockers, Bulldogs, Harts, & Stallions vs Demolition, Tully & Arn, Bolsheviks, Conquistadors, & Rougeaus:  THAT is a lot of guys in one match and I think next year they decided to just put tag teams on teams with singles wrestlers instead of doing a 20 man tag.  I wonder if Vince's hate of tag team wrestling (why am I paying two guys when I can pay one pal?) had something to do with it.  Also, it's probably better to just not do a match like this when your depth is such that you need to fill out with three jobber teams.  This match is famous because it's the Bulldogs' last match in the territory and everybody figured Dynamite would probably murder send Jacques to Belize after the show, so the Rougeaus are eliminated first and then the Bulldogs go out like 35 minutes later, so the Rougeaus have ample time to GTFO of Ohio.  You can tell it's the Bulldogs' last match: Dynamite is sporting his IDGAF look, pale with a molester mustache.  Davey, on the other hand, is jacked and tan like a guy who wants to come back in two years.  These dudes look like that meme of Peter Griffin holding the skin tone scale.  Man, the 80s wrestling war was nuts.  25% of the wrestlers here were working for Crockett a year ago (PoP, Horsemen, Darsow).  Why does Bill Eadie shave his upper body but then leave his legs just hairy as fuck?  Bret pulls out the first German suplex seen in the WWF in the 80s and pins himself.  Jesus this is a long match.  Jacques is in Detroit by the finish.  Demos/PoP double turn because Fuji is doing things, I guess.  PoP wins and yaaaaawn.

Fun show so far just for nostalgia purposes and it's cool to see all these guys.  Survivor Series, when it was just elimination matches, was really more of a "let's see some cool wrestlers get their shit in and advance a few angles" kind of thing and it's already better than SummerSlam.

The Heenan Family vs some designated jobbers is next and I honestly didn't remember that Andre wasn't on DiBiase's team for this one!

Edited by Technico Support
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I was there for Survivor Series 88 (and 87 and 92). I had floor seats in the 10th row on the side where the Demolition-Fiji breakup took place. Mind-blowing stuff!

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14 minutes ago, Uncle Coaster said:

I’m glad you started it’s own topic. I have been enjoying the write ups so far and look forward to following along from here. 
   
 

Many, many thanks, buddy! I'll do my best.

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Posted (edited)

Quick thoughts on the tiny bit I watched yesterday:

I actually left off on the finish of the tag match, so I missed the aftermath when I watched a few days ago.  Demolition running in, beating up the PoP, and running them off was ridiculous.  I mean from a standpoint of "we need to cement these guys as faces," I guess they felt they had to do it.  But from a standpoint of building up a tough new challenger and "oh shit their longtime manager is now behind a dangerous team who will make a serious run at the belts," it was a mess.  PoP promo later to try to save this.  I don't recall ever hearing Barbarian speak.

Nothing but promo packages as I'm guessing there was a short intermission in the arena.  They're moving Andre down the card now  -- he's not in the main as I'd assumed he was.  He's feuding with Jake because Vince loves "big guy afraid of snakes" angles.  SCOTT CASEY (with a WWF record of 0 - 3,973) is on Jake's team because JYD quit and then B. Brian Blair left as well.  Sweet Jesus.  Next year, they move to 4 on 4 and with better defined, mixed teams (singles and tag teams together).  It's a good choice, as the amount of JTTS and outright job guys needed to fill out teams on this show is pretty crazy.   So I'm thinking 89 will be smaller teams, less filler.  I'm fully ready for the joke to be on me and we get job guys in every other match.

I had absolutely zero recollection of the fact that there was a brief time where Harley Race apparently came back and rejoined the Heenan Family alongside his replacement, King Haku.  Wild.  I know it doesn't last long as he wrestles Haku for the King title at the Rumble and then is out shortly after.  Anyway, that's the good thing about re-watching this stuff I haven't seen in probably over 30 years...I only remember the generalities so it's fun to watch back (almost) fresh.

Thanks for reading!  Two matches to go!

Edited by Technico Support
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On 8/1/2022 at 11:49 AM, Technico Support said:

PoP, Rockers, Bulldogs, Harts, & Stallions vs Demolition, Tully & Arn, Bolsheviks, Conquistadors, & Rougeaus:  [...]Also, it's probably better to just not do a match like this when your depth is such that you need to fill out with three jobber teams.

Whom are you considering jobbers besides the Conquistadors and I assume the Stallions (who were in sort of a nebulous zone between jobbers and JTTSes)?

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1 hour ago, tbarrie said:

Whom are you considering jobbers besides the Conquistadors and I assume the Stallions (who were in sort of a nebulous zone between jobbers and JTTSes)?

Bolsheviks and Stallions, but you’re right about the vagueness of their placement on the depth chart and that both are technically JTTS teams.  I guess I’m speaking relatively compared to the other seven teams.  Like, the Bolsheviks job to the Harts 10 times out of 10, ditto Stallions/Rougeaus, for example.

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15 hours ago, Technico Support said:

Bolsheviks and Stallions, but you’re right about the vagueness of their placement on the depth chart and that both are technically JTTS teams.  I guess I’m speaking relatively compared to the other seven teams.  Like, the Bolsheviks job to the Harts 10 times out of 10, ditto Stallions/Rougeaus, for example.

Yeah, that's fair. I know as a kid the Bolsheviks and Stallions being included didn't seem odd to me, but the Conquistadors getting a spot definitely did.

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Posted (edited)

Rolling on with the next match on the show...

Andre, Rude, Bravo, Perfect, Rude, & Race vs Jake, Duggan, Scott Casey, Patera, & Tito:  I'm going to bullet point this and see how that works because IRL I'm a middle manager and we love bullet points.

  • Scott Casey is filling in for Brian Blair, who was to fill in for JYD.  If they got any further down the depth chart, James Dudley would have been in there
  • Jake's music is awesome.  Was that written by someone on staff or was it stock music?  I do remember it being used on SNME for a Hogan workout montage.
  • Curt is in there as prototype Mr. Perfect -- short tights, no singlet
  • Lots of amazing big hair in this match as well.  Between all this and Beefcake's insane 'do in the earlier match, even Bonnie Tyler would be like "guys, ease up on the Aqua Net."
  • Tito is in his Strikeforce gear but Martel is not around.  I swore they broke up later so I had to look it up -- turns out Martel had a kayfabe injury from Mania 4 and Ax hitting him with the cane (his wife was ill and he was given time off for that) and the storyline was Tito had initially brought in PoP to go after Demolition.  I remember none of that.
  • The is the first match where I really noticed the work.  Foregone conclusion because Hennig, Race, Rude, Tito, & Jake are in there, sure, but even Duggan and Bravo had their working boots on and these guys were going for it in the earlier portion of the bout.  Maybe they had that semi-main chip on their shoulders.
  • Harley Race, part 1: Fuuuuuuuck that hernia operation scar is massive.  No wonder he wore a singlet when he went to JCP/Crockett
  • Harley Race, part 2: he's still in his King gear despite being deposed by Haku. Quality Control should have caught that
  • Harley Race, part 3: I looked it up and Harley is 43 here.  FORTY THREE.  Race is one of those guys born looking 40 and just got older looking from there.  He looks like he could definitely get the senior citizen's discount without an ID.
  • Harley Race, part 4: HE'S AWESOME.  Even at his advanced decrepitude (yes that is a Blade Runner reference), he whips out some sweet suplexes and even a nice dropkick
  • I mentioned in the SummerSlam writeup that it was fun to watch how they would strategize how to hide Andre.  Here, he doesn't even get in until we're 13 minutes and 3 eliminations in.  Then he only has two spots in the match.
  • I watched part of this match right before bedtime and was dozing off, but it really felt like Jake and Rude were trying to be even more boring than their Mania 4 match during their segment late in the show.
  • Ending makes sense as Andre's team is up 3-1 on Jake, so Andre just chokes the fuck out of him, gets DQ'd, and Hennig pins him immediately.  So smart.  Like braining a guy with a chair in an iron man match, getting DQ'd, then pinning your unconscious opponent 10 times.  Obvious strategy like this kind of ruins elimination matches if you think too hard about it. 

Main event is next, then Royal Rumble 89 as we start to wrap up the me decade!

Edited by Technico Support
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On 8/2/2022 at 8:33 AM, Uncle Coaster said:

I’m glad you started it’s own topic. I have been enjoying the write ups so far and look forward to following along from here. 
   
 

Whether it's Technico or Dolfan or Matt D or Smelly or whoever, I don't think I'll ever get tired of board members giving their takes on old wrestling. It's always a fun read.

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1 hour ago, The Comedian said:

Whether it's Technico or Dolfan or Matt D or Smelly or whoever, I don't think I'll ever get tired of board members giving their takes on old wrestling. It's always a fun read.

Thanks!!

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Posted (edited)

Finishing up Survivor Series 1988 with a real mixed bag of a main event, as it's The Mega Powers, Hillbilly Jim, Koko, & Herc vs DiBiase, Akeem, Bossman, Rooster, & King Haku.  Y'all like bullet points?  I do!

  • When I wrote about SummerSlam, I commented on Hogan's amazing restraint -- he actually entered with Savage to Savage's music!  Well that's out the window as he is the only co-captain to get his own separate entrance and music.  AND Savage is wearing his Mega Powers tights while Hogan isn't, as Hulk little brothers the fuck out of Macho here.  What a dick.  I get the feeling switching his merch from a Hulkamania shirt that says HULK RULES was also some "keep me on top" gamesmanship.
  • Crowd is HOT for all this
  • The tiny iron-on "WWF" letters on Koko's gear are blurred out LOOOOOOL
  • Herc responded to his face turn by adding 20 more pounds of surely all natural muscle.  Extra chicken, extra broccoli just like your favorite action stars tell you about when advertising their latest movie in Men's Health.
  • Was Red Rooster supposed to be a diss on Ric Flair?  Squint and Terry looks like him, right down to the kneepads on the shins.  If not, I don't understand this gimmick.  Heenan promoted him as a loser that he'd still be able to lead to success and I understand that the whole point is for him to turn on Heenan, but still...The Red Rooster?  You can do the same storyline without naming him after a barnyard animal.  Cocaine is a hell of a drug.
  • Speaking of cocaine, OMG has "gone back to his roots" and is now Akeem.  Sweet Jesus.  I always took "The African Dream," a fat white guy shucking and jiving, speaking in stereotypical ebonics, as a parody of The American Dream, who was a fat white guy shucking and jiving, speaking in stereotypical ebonics.  OR it's just another gimmick from Vince's dumb sense of humor, where the absolute height of wit is to dress a fat guy like an Easter egg and have him "act black."  My god I've written too much about this already.
  • The 80s wrestling wars were crazy, part 2: between 1-2 years ago, four out of the five guys on the heel team were ALL working in Mid-South/UWF.  Bubba and OMG even traded the UWF title. 
  • Koko's flying dropkick is a thing of beauty. 
  • Watching all these shows in order, it's wild to see guys go up and down the card.  DiBiase is eliminated second on his team as he's moving on from main eventing as part of the Megabucks act since January to feuding with Herc, who he tried to buy as his slave.  The world has moved on.
  • This was really a tale of two matches, as everybody is game and up for working hard (maybe they didn't want to be upstaged by the semi-main!) for the first half of the match.  As soon as Herc is eliminated by DiBiase, all the work takes a backseat to angle advancement.  It sucks because the heels are up 4-2 and I'm like, "cool, let's see some babyface fire in the face of adversity!"  But then Savage pins DiBiase immediately.  Okay then.
  • And then it's all gimmicks as Hogan is handcuffed, BOTH Twin Towers are eliminated by bullshit (Bossman is counted out, Akeem is DQ'd) to, I guess, keep them strong, and then big brother Hogan makes the save to keep Randy in his place and wins the match for his hapless team. 
  • Post-match lust-filled shenanigans

This show was decent enough, I guess.  It was fun from an almost "greatest hits" perspective, as you get to see a LOT of guys doing their thing in bite sized pieces.  For work, the semi-main is the match of the night.  I need to look up how many more years they stick with elimination matches before abandoning the format. 

Rumble '89 is next, then I might watch The Main Event just to see the whole big angle play out.  Thanks for reading!

Edited by Technico Support
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If you do end up watching the Main Event, you might try to find a version of it recorded off of tv. There's a great moment where Hogan is asking for a countdown to when they're back from break and someone tells him they're live and he starts crying over Elizabeth.  I would imagine that's cut out of the Peacock version.

Edited by Log
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1 hour ago, Log said:

If you do end up watching the Main Event, you might try to find a version of it recorded off of tv. There's a great moment where Hogan is asking for a countdown to when they're back from break and someone tells him they're live and he starts crying over Elizabeth.  I would imagine that's cut out of the Peacock version.

I was thinking about that yesterday, wondering if the version where Hulk audibly, yet in carney because NOBODY can decipher that, asks the director for a "c-izz-ount" right on live TV is on Peacock.  Great minds...

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Posted (edited)

Royal Rumble 1989!  It's the first Rumble to be featured on PPV after Vince debuted the concept in 1988 on free TV to hurt Crockett's Bunkhouse Stampede PPV (not that Crockett needed help hurting that shitshow).  Or, if Bruce Prichard were telling the story, it was only to give fans and cable operators more options! 

We start the show with Vince growling through the names of possibly all 30 participants and it's clear he needed to checkout Schoolhouse Rock a little more because he definitely doesn't understand conjunctions.  He'd announce 2-3 guys, then say AAANNNDDD, and then announce the next guy, then repeat the process.  "And" should always come before the last thing in a list.  You don't say "I went to the store and bought soda, apples, and candy.  Water, cookies, and oranges.  Coffee, sugar, creamer, and pork rinds."  Hey, I'm pedantic about grammar and sentence structure.  I can't help it.

The Rougeaus & Dino Bravo vs The Hart Foundation:

  • This is announced as a special "International Rules" 2 out of 3 falls match.  Because just calling it 2 out of 3 falls is boring.
  • The match is really interesting because it's worked with the standard match formula, except the heat starts with the ending of the first fall, with the second fall coming in the comeback, and then the third is the finish.
  • I noticed this in prior shows: Bret has a sweet running crossbody. 
  • Fans chant "USA" to pump up Bret and it's so dumb that Jesse can't help but call it out.
  • Bret was obviously the workhorse of the match and there were two scary moments for him in the second fall.  First, he and Dino mistime a ducked clothesline and Bret is clobbered by a swinging forearm to the head.  He collapses into the ropes sideways and just drops.  Probably a concussion there?  THEN, toward the end of the fall, Duggan slingshots Neidhart into the ring onto Raymond, who is on the mat.  After that, he does the same for Bret.  But Bret over-rotates and comes right down on his head and shoulder.  Holy fuck.  Bret spends the time after this fall and for a good part of the next fall slumped in the corner on the floor.  Can't say I blame him.
  • Babyfaces win with Duggan hitting Bravo with the 2x4 while the ref is distracted.  Good opener but damn, those Bret spots were rough.

Women's title: Rockin' Robin (c) vs Judy Martin

  • Robin comes to the ring to her brother Sam Houston's music to, I guess, get the Texas crowd behind her.
  • I don't have a delicate way to put this so I'll just say it: its really obvious Robin is going totally commando under her gear.
  • Sherri is out to challenge the winner.  She's got charisma like mad but is not there on promos yet, and they do her no additional favors putting her on commentary with Jesse & Gorilla.
  • I can see why they did that, though, as this match was cold and definitely needed something extra.
  • 80s WWF women's wrestling with full Moolah influence here.  Robin pulls out some good offense but Martin is from a different era and there are rough patches where they're not on the same page.
  • Robin snakes her other brother's offense, hitting a DDT at one point (See what I did there?).  She wins a not very good match with a crossbody and we can move on. 
  • The women's title would be deactivated a year later, brought back as Alundra Blayze's gimmick, deactivated again, and brought back for the bra and panties Attitude Era, which did women's wrestling no favors.  WWE has a bad history with women -- in the ring, in the locker room, and in the office, too!

That's all for now!  Up next: KINGS COLLIDE!

Edited by Technico Support
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I will be expecting reviews of Koko B Ware's greatest brainbuster finisher squashes very soon, especially the humiliation and public execution of Iron Mike Sharpe.

Edited by J.T.
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1 hour ago, Technico Support said:

"And" should always come before the last thing in a list.  You don't say "I went to the store and bought soda, apples, and candy.  Water, cookies, and oranges.  Coffee, sugar, creamer, and pork rinds." 

You might if you were writing a poem. Or if you wanted to break your list into related sublists - "I bought apples, oranges, and bananas; coffee, creamer, and sugar." would be defensible, I think. But I doubt Vince was doing either of those.

On the actual subject of the show - I remember re-watching that six-man a few years ago and thinking that wrestlers knew how to do an inverted atomic drop and not have it look like a knee to the balls. I mean, it's unsurprising that Bret did it right, but I think Bravo did a good one too. It seems to have become a lost art.

Edited by tbarrie
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Posted (edited)

I forgot to mention: I was watching the show wearing my Airpod Pros, so I had some heavy noise cancelling and spatial audio, and the vignette where they drew their numbers sounded insane.  They must have mic'd the tumbler itself and the plastic balls as they opened them really closely because it was some real ASMR shit.

Edited by Technico Support
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When are you stopping, do you think? Because if you make it as far as 1993, I have complaints to make about the WWEN version of the 1993 Royal Rumble, with its weird cut so that it can excise the Beverly Bros. awesome theme music for whatever rights reasons there apparently were. 

I went back twenty seconds and pulled up the REAL theme on Youtube so I could get a proper entrance as God intended. 

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4 hours ago, SirSmellingtonofCascadia said:

When are you stopping, do you think? Because if you make it as far as 1993, I have complaints to make about the WWEN version of the 1993 Royal Rumble, with its weird cut so that it can excise the Beverly Bros. awesome theme music for whatever rights reasons there apparently were. 

I went back twenty seconds and pulled up the REAL theme on Youtube so I could get a proper entrance as God intended. 

Good question!  It’s really a childhood nostalgia thing for me and I started college in 92 so that may be a little late. BUT I’m also really tempted to see if The New Generation was as bad as I remembered.  If I had to guess, I’ll make it to at least 93, probably a little further. Maybe I’ll shoot for Mania 10 as a stopping point.  
 

After that, same time period, but with Crockett/WCW.

 Thanks again for reading!

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Posted (edited)

Continuing Royal Rumble 89!

Battle for the King gimmick: King Haku vs Harley Race

  • So did Vince not think Harley was coming back from his hernia operation?  Or did he figure he'd repackage Harley and then just ended up not doing it?  OR did he think there was money in a Haku vs Race feud?  Or maybe all this was the plan to write Race off.  No idea.
  • Reminder: Harley Race was only 45, pushing 46 here and easily looked 60.  That's some hard livin', friends. 
  • I remember seeing pics of this match in WWF Magazine back then and being really interested in seeing this bout, captivated by the idea of two heels fighting because both wanted this thing.  In the good guys vs bad guys era, that was WAY different.
  • Harley dumps Haku off the chariot thing (Excalibur knew the word for it when someone used one in AEW, but I can't remember) and that looked really dangerous.  Dale (Dusty) Wolfe was one of the job guys who carried it; no idea about the other three.
  • They play up the angle where both guys are managed by Heenan and he'll come out of this managing the King no matter what, which is a fun angle as The Brain actively cheers both men in the match, but in a scummy heel way where he gets behind whoever's winning.  Awesome.
  • You know the crowd reaction is bad when the announcers talk about the "hushed silence" of the fans.  But yeah, they're definitely not into this heel vs heel match that, from what I recall, was barely promoted.
  • No real formula to the bout.  Nobody decided to play face and have the shine, heat, comeback or anything.  Just two dudes beating each other up.  I enjoyed that for a nice change of pace.
  • Race seemingly loved bumping out of the ring, as he had like 2-3 go-to creative bumps for it.  There's a spot where he falls out in the most convoluted method possible where I swear it takes forever for him to get to the floor.
  • I never saw much pre-King Harley outside his Starrcade title change with Flair.  One article I read made it sound like he was washed up when he came to WWF and got the gimmick.  Either that's ridiculous or he was amazing in his younger days, as he was at least still an above average worker here.
  • Never let anybody tell you the old days had more respect for MOVEZ and people don't sell for shit today.  Harley piledrove Haku twice in this match, one of which was ON THE FLOOR, and neither was the finish.
  • After much back and forth, Haku ducks a line and superkicks Race for the win to keep the crown, robe, and all land deeds.  Race leaves the WWF sometime shortly thereafter.

THE RUMBLE is next!  No friends, only enemies, etc etc

 

Edited by Technico Support
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1 hour ago, Technico Support said:

 

  • Harley dumps Haku off the chariot thing (Excalibur knew the word for it when someone used one in AEW, but I can't remember)

 

A litter?

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