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Thread: WWE Grudge Matches Home Video Review

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    WWE Network WWE Grudge Matches Home Video Review

    Grudge Matches
    March 27, 1986

    I tend not to go for these early Coliseum Home Videos simply because the matches are rarely full, but this one looks as if it might have complete matches. If it ends up that it doesn’t, chances are that this review will never be posted.

    We open up with Gorilla Monsoon inside of the WWE control center to present Grudge Matches. Monsoon hypes this video tape as being a brutal tape showcasing the biggest grudges in all of the WWE. Monsoon goes over a few of the matches while apologize that this tape will be more violent than usual. Guys...we might see someone die.

    Hulk Hogan © vs Don Muraco w/Mr. Fuji - WWE World Title
    From May 1985. We’re at MSG for Hogan’s first post-Wrestlemania program. It was at the April MSG event that the Muraco/Hogan match ended with Muraco winning via count-out, thanks partly due to Mr. Fuji. Looking back, it was odd that Muraco was not booked on Wrestlemania, despite being penciled in to have a series of matches with Hogan afterwards. The Hulkster is rocking the all white look for a change, but as soon as he climbed into the ring, Muraco attacked him. Due to this Pearl Harbor job and the previous encounter, Hogan is into this match pissed off and he shows it. Hogan is far more aggressive than usual, choking with his ripped off shirt, biting at the forehead, and even blasting Muraco in the back with a steel chair. Poor Muraco is busted open. While the match isn’t long, it does feel like a big time brawl, often going in and out of the ring with the referee being relaxed with the rules. Everything spirals out of control when Hogan has the pinfall on Muraco after a leg drop, but Fuji put Muraco’s foot on the bottom rope. While Hogan is arguing with the referee, Fuji slips Muraco some salt, to which Muraco throws in Hogan’s eyes, right in front of the referee. At this point, the referee opts to just DQ Muraco even though you could argue Hogan had been cheating more in the match. In terms of this video tape, it succeeds since it felt like a proper grudge. In terms of the original MSG program, it succeeds since it makes me want to watch their third match, a cage match in June. Partner those successes with the fact that you’re seeing a side of Hogan you didn’t see often and it’s a surprisingly good way to kick off this video tape. ***

    Terry Funk w/Jimmy Hart vs The Junkyard Dog
    From January 1986. This originally aired on the February 15th edition of Championship Wrestling. Funk’s WWE run in the mid 80s didn’t last long, but his one big singles feud was against JYD. I’d argue this match is more of a segment with a big angle than a proper match. It’s all JYD as he just tosses Funk all over the place, both in and out of the ring. Funk gets his head shoved into the turnbuckle pads multiple times. When JYD ties Funk up, Hart tries to interfere with Funk’s branding iron, but JYD easily thwarts it. While JYD tries to use the branding iron on Funk, an unknown man in a suit rolls into the ring, removes his boot, and nails JYD in the back to draw the DQ. How is THAT a DQ when a damn branding iron was already involved?! The commentators reveal that the unknown man is actually Terry’s brother, Dory Funk Jr. The Funks and Hart triple teams JYD with Hart even splashing JYD. A group of babyfaces eventually rush into the ring to send the heels packing. Barely even a match, but we do get the significant development of Dory Jr’s WWE debut. What I found particularly interesting is that the commentators only referred to him as Dory and not Hoss. ANGLE

    From there, we jump to a pre-match interview with JYD from SNME 3 where they make it seem as if JYD and Mean Gene had just seen footage of the Dory Funk debut. In reality, Mean Gene and JYD had watched footage from the start of the Funk/JYD program, however; I kinda get a kick out of the fact that the editing is making it seem as if the SNME 3 match, which aired in November 1985, is a rematch from the Championship Wrestling match, which aired in February 1986.

    Terry Funk w/Jimmy Hart vs The Junkyard Dog
    From SNME 3. Funk tries to jump JYD before the bell, but JYD isn't having any of that. The first few minutes consists of JYD easily in control, Funk taking some wild bumps and then stalling on the outside. Occasionally, that stalling would consist of flopping around like a fish out of water. Eventually, all of Jimmy Hart's attempts at interfering pays off as Funk takes his chance to gain control. With the fans cheering on JYD, he makes his comeback, but once again Jimmy Hart interferes. While JYD is taking care of him, Funk nails him in the back of the head with Hart's megaphone. Funk picks up the dirty win. After the match, Funk tries to use the branding iron on JYD. JYD makes his own save and clears the ring of Funk. That leaves a tug and war between Funk and JYD for control of Jimmy Hart. Poor Hart loses his pants. JYD then uses the branding iron on Hart's ass that comes dangerously close to sodomy. Hot damn, this had a great crowd. They were into everything and greatly helped the enjoyment of the match due to the severe workrate limitations of the Dog. They kept things simple and to the point. As a result, this was a fun little match. Best SNME opener in these first three episodes. ** ¼

    Bruno Sammartino © vs Ivan Koloff - WWE World Title
    From October 1975. We’re four and a half years removed from Koloff’s shocking WWE Title win over Bruno. Now Bruno has been WWE Champion again for just under a year and this is the first time he’s defended the title against Koloff at MSG since that legendary upset. What’s interesting about this match is that even though it’s joined in progress and it’s mostly just clips, it’s some of the most blatant lying ever committed to a WWE Home Video. The WWE dubbed over the original commentary with Gorilla Monsoon for this video tape and he flat out claims that Koloff is the champion. Early on, it’s just vague little mentions that leave you wondering if you’re mishearing. Surely, they can’t be claiming that Koloff is champion, but as the match goes on, Monsoon directly refers to Koloff as the champion. In fact, when the finish comes with a bloody Bruno punching out the referee, Monsoon claims that Koloff has retained the title and Sammartino will need to try again at a later point. There’s zero way this was an accident because the original commentary would have had Vince McMahon referring to Bruno as the champion and I’m sure Sammartino came out to the ring with the title. From what we saw, it looked like a fun brawl. Sammartino looked great with a crimson mask. Not Rated

    From there, we’re shown clips of the Tito Santana vs Greg Valentine w/Capt Lou IC Title match from the October 13, 1984 edition of All Star Wrestling. It was in that match that Valentine injured Tito’s knee on his way to victory to win the title.

    We then jump to Tito Santana in the hospital as we hear from him both before and after his knee surgery. WWE cameras captured footage of his doctors at work in the middle of the surgery. We see things like Santana’s knee being shaved, the antiseptic being applied, ect to really sell home the fact that this injury was legit and it had some real life consequences. All of this sets up…

    Greg Valentine © w/Jimmy Hart vs Tito Santana - Steel Cage - WWE IC Title
    From July 1985. A couple of interesting tidbits, first we see that Jimmy Hart is now Valentine’s manager. Back in the mid to late 80s, Valentine was a bit of a manager slut. When he first returned to the WWE in 1984, he had Capt Lou as his manager. Then shortly before Wrestlemania 1, Hart became Valentine’s new manager. Despite The Dream Team initially having both Johnny V and Jimmy Hart as the managers (Since Johnny V was Beefcake’s manager) once they won the tag titles, Hart left Valentine to be solely managed by Johnny V. After a couple of years being a member of The Dream Team and The New Dream Team, Valentine left Johnny V after Survivor Series 1987, where he quickly re-added Jimmy Hart as his manager. The other notable thing about this match is that it’s from Baltimore, Maryland. For the most part, the WWE didn’t do much of interest in Baltimore since it was a major location for JCP/WCW. Other than Superstar Billy Graham’s title win over Bruno, you pretty much have to wait until the death of WCW to see important WWE events happening in Baltimore. Why this match took place in Baltimore, I haven’t a clue. Since I already have this match reviewed, lets go to that review. This is from the Hall of Fame 2004 DVD. The match was taken from a live event with Gorilla Monsoon providing commentary I assume for a Coliseum Home Video release (Hey, Younger Jim was right, which does explain why Gorilla’s commentary feels off since he’s just watching old footage). Valentine and Santana had been battling on and off ever since Valentine defeated Santana for the title over a year before (Well, almost a year). Gorilla Monsoon mistakenly calls this the first ever IC title match inside of a steel cage. It's pretty sad especially considering one of the most well known IC title matches occurred in a steel cage less than two years prior to this. Very basic match without the frills and spots of modern day cage matches. For the most part, it's just punches, battling to escape the cage and Valentine throwing Santana against the cage a few times busting Tito open. The end sequence came with Valentine slowly crawling through the cage door while Tito climbs up over the top. Seeing that Valentine was close to escaping, Santana kicks the door into Greg's head and Santana wins by dropping down. I'm not sure if this is the first time this spot was done, but it has to be one of the early examples of it. The post-match has Valentine destroying the IC title out of frustration. This would led to the IC title (1985-1998) being created (Hey Jim, the title design would eventually be brought back!). Besides some weak looking shots, my only major issue with the match was Gorilla Monsoon. Typically, I love Monsoon as a commentator, but he sounded extremely bored and ruined several spots by calling what happens before it does. Overall, it's a simple, yet grudge filled match which had the steel cage do exactly what it was designed for - to end a feud. Throw in some historic events with the title being destroyed and you have an easy thumbs up. Not bad for the "First ever IC steel cage match." ***

    Superstar Billy Graham © vs Bruno Sammartino - WWE World Title
    From August 1977. It’s been about three months since Graham’s title victory in Baltimore, Maryland. This is a rematch from the June ‘77 MSG where it ended in a double DQ. Gorilla Monsoon is the special guest referee for the match. Oddly, Monsoon was the special guest referee a lot for Bruno’s matches. Some of the other Bruno matches that Monsoon was the referee for were ones against Ken Patera, Stan Hanson, and Ivan Koloff. This match can also be found on its own in the Bruno Sammartino WWE Network collection. The nice thing about Bruno is that although he wasn’t a violent wrestler and he certainly didn’t have a large moveset, he came across like a big time brawler with his punches, kicks, and most importantly, the babyface fire he gets when he’s ramping up the offense. He spends a good portion of the match working over the knee of The Superstar. Graham does some fun overselling where it’s over the top, but it’s not Curt Hennig’ levels of being not believable. Graham kept trying to cheat, first by pulling a rope out from under the ring, only for Bruno to use it, and then knocking Bruno out with the WWE Title, busting the challenger open. Monsoon, both the referee and commentator, kept reiterating the fact that he wanted to see a proper winner and wasn’t going to DQ anyone so easily. His desire to see a proper winner saw Gorilla even run after Graham when Superstar tried to return to the back. Graham was carried on Gorilla’s shoulders and tossed back into the ring. It was around this time that Bruno showed fire and busted Graham open. The finish of the match is a little fuzzy in that I’m not 100% sure what happened. Monsoon was clearly focusing just on a bloody Bruno and bloody Graham, but the bell was rang. Maybe the doctor called the match? What I do know is that the match is ruled a draw due to the blood loss. Oddly enough, this would not set up a rematch at the next MSG. Instead, Superstar would have a match against Ivan Putski and then move into a series of matches with Dusty Rhodes while Bruno would work Ken Patera in a Texas Death Match and would then drastically cut down on his schedule as he settled into his role as a part time wrestler and prepped for his mentorship/feud with Larry Zbyszko. This copy of the match did seem slightly clipped, but I imagine the clips mostly just came in rest holds, so you didn’t actually miss anything important. The copy in the WWE Network collection seems full and contains the original audio, so that would be the copy I’d suggest watching. Despite the clumsy finish, this was a fun brawl with Bruno showing that while he is not the most dimensional wrestler, what he did do, he did extremely well. The guy knew how to be a babyface on fire, looking for revenge. ***

    Hulk Hogan and Mr. T w/Jimmy Snuka vs Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff w/Bob Orton Jr.
    From Wrestlemania 1. The first thing to note about this match is the heat. The crowd is so psyched to see the match and they're never quiet. If you're going to have a celebrity involved in a match, this is the route to go. Hogan handled the majority of the work while T got in a few times. T's offense was believable with some headbutts and simple wrestling moves such as a body slam and a pretty good looking hip toss. Yet, half of the time T's in the ring, he's on the mat being worked over by the heels. It makes perfect sense from a kayfabe perspective. With T, you know he's known for being street fighter. Yet, he's not a professional wrestler and the heels can easily outwrestle him. The ending is perfect with the heels' cheating (Orton using his cast) ended up costing them the win as Orton accidentally knocks out Orndorff. It's a smartly worked match with great heat and believable booking. Really good first main event at Mania. *** ¼

    Apparently, Gorilla can’t even be bothered to return to say goodbye to us. Pfft, say what you will about Sean Mooney, but when he hosted a Coliseum Home Video, he made sure to say goodbye!

    For an early Coliseum Home Video release, I felt this was really good. In the early days of Coliseum Home Video, the WWE were more interested in just throwing as much stuff as possible on the video, even if it meant just having a video filled with highlights. Here the amount of segments is greatly reduced and for the most part, it’s just full matches, or pretty much full (Graham/Bruno). The best example of just a clips based match was the Valentine title win, but that “Match” was just shown to hype up their full cage match. So that’s certainly fine. While Gorilla Monsoon did overhype the type as being violent, I did feel as if the tape delivered in showcasing important grudges. You’ve got Hogan/Piper, Santana/Valentine, Bruno/Graham, and JYD/Funk. Obviously, since it’s under an hour and a half, they couldn’t show too much, but I would have thought they’d find time to showcase an Andre grudge (Studd or Bundy?) and maybe a tag team grudge, a real one, not just a showcase of the Piper/Hogan feud. I liked seeing the WWE debut of Dory Funk Jr. I had never seen it before and thinking back to that time period, it would have came across as a big angle to have Dory debut, attack JYD, and join up with Funk and Hart when you were already seeing a big Funk/JYD match on free TV. For anyone who hasn’t seen it, the Santana/Valentine match is worth watching, especially in the context of seeing some of the backstory. For me though, what stands out the very most about this tape is the incredible lie committed by the WWE, claiming that Ivan Koloff was WWE Champion in his match against Bruno. It’s legitimately one of the biggest lies in WWE history and it’s a lie that I have NO idea why it was even stated. It’s not as if Bruno was on the outs with the WWE at the time, he was still a commentator for them at the time! Frankly, I’m debating buying a Ouija board just to contact Gorilla Monsoon so I can ask why he recorded that commentary the way that he did. When I’m on my deathbed, my biggest regret in life will be not knowing why the WWE claimed Koloff was champion. But hey, if you want to watch an 80s WWE tape on the WWE Network, Grudge Matches is an ideal one to watch.
    Last edited by Jim; 11-06-2018 at 12:37 PM.

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