Best of the WWF Volume 5 – That’s Quite A Main Event

Best of the WWF Volume 5
Host: Gene Okerlund
Commentators: Gorilla Monsoon, Jesse Ventura, Vince McMahon, Bruno, Sammartino

Just three of these left so let’s knock this one out. I won’t do the other two just after this because these shows can be hard to sit through at times. This one is from very early 1986 so most of the matches are from 1985 and a few of them revolve around the Women’s Title, which was a much bigger deal back then with Wendi Richter, the chick that basically caused the Rock N Wrestling Connection (ok not really but she was part of it) main eventing house shows when Hogan wasn’t there. Think about that for a minute. Let’s get to it.

Don Muraco vs. Ricky Steamboat

MSG from November of 85. They’re slow to start so I’m assuming this is going to go on for awhile. Steamboat speeds things up and a kick sends Don to the floor. Muraco has some huge man boobs. Back in and Steamboat claps Muraco’s ears to send him right back to the floor. Back in and Muraco walks into a superkick and chops. Steamboat hooks the rare face chinlock (it’s a neck crank but I call them all chinlocks).

Muraco comes back but walks into more shots from Ricky to send him back outside. Back in again and Muraco STILL can’t get anything going. Backdrop sets up some armdrags and off to something resembling an STF. Now into a camel clutch. Steamboat grabs a nose lock before shifting to a front facelock. Clipped to later in the facelock as we hear about how this is a revenge match for the Dragon.

Muraco finally gets in some offense with an atomic drop and a clothesline. Steamboat goes face first into the post and he’s busted. Muraco goes after the wound like an evil man. Now it’s Steamboat on the floor as Gorilla wants a doctor to take a look at Steamboat. A slingshot puts Ricky into the post. Steamboat staggers around on the floor for a bit before getting slingshotted back in. That’s a popular move in this match.

Ricky chops away in the corner and the people get all exciteable. Muraco comes back again and Fuji throws in the cane. They fight over it but Steamboat kicks him off and into the referee. A cane shot misses Ricky so Steamboat kicks him in the back of the head and grabs the cane. The fans are LOSING IT. A cane shot draws the DQ loss for Steamboat though.

Rating: C+. Not a classic or anything but for what it was, this was fine. They let the guys do their thing and they worked the crowd into a frenzy because of it. What else do you really need to do in a place like New York? Steamboat was great and while Muraco was just a step past his prime, he could still go and do 20 minutes like he did here. Fine match.

Dragon breaks the cane and gouges it into the head of Muraco. He had a mean streak to him. Steamboat beats on Muraco for a bit because he’s Ricky Steamboat and he can. Don is busted too.

Hart Foundation vs. Killer Bees

I told you these teams always hooked up. I think we’re in Philly here. Blair clears house to start and it’s off to Brunzell. Bret is in trouble early and the Bees stay on the arm, which the announcers criticize them for. Bret gets in an elbow and here’s the Anvil. Blair is in trouble but gets in a right hand to a big pop. He doesn’t do anything after that but it shows you how strong the crowds were back in the day.

The Dream Team has the belts at the moment so this is late 85-early 86. Bret misses a charge into the ropes and it’s off to Brunzell. Brunzell hits his dropkick on Hart but Anvil makes the save. Everything breaks down but Bret and Brunzell go to the floor. And there’s the LAME double DQ. This didn’t run long enough to really get going.

Rating: C-. These two were incapable of having a bad match but they needed more time here. The double DQ came in way too fast and that really hurt things. You could easily watch any of these guys’ matches and you would get a good match out of it. Fun stuff here, while it lasted at least.

Hart Foundation/Barry O vs. Killer Bees/Paul Orndorff

This is joined in progress in the same city. Blair is getting beaten on but he goes through Orton’s (that’s what the O stands for) legs and brings in Orndorff who would be a huge star at this point. A spinebuster/dropkick combination pins Barry in like two minutes shown. Not enough to rate of course but I’d certainly hope the full thing was longer.

Tag Titles: British Bulldogs vs. Dream Team

Wrestlemania preview if you want to really stretch things. Dream Team has the belts. Valentine vs. Dynamite to start. Dynamite sends him flying to start and into the corner where he rams into Beefcake. Double tag brings in Smith and Bulldog. The Dogs speed things up and work over the arm. Davey fires off dropkicks for everyone but double teaming takes him down.

Not that it matters as he makes a tag just a few seconds later and Dynamite beats on the champs for a bit. Backbreaker gets two on Valentine. Dynamite goes up for presumably the Swan Dive (not called that yet) but Luscious Johnny V shoves him off the top for ANOTHER lame DQ finish.

Rating: C-. Same explanation as the previous tag match: these teams can have a good match if you give them the time but they cut it short here with the DQ ending. They would have by far and away the best match of the night at Wrestlemania. Beefcake wasn’t much at this point which is why they put him in there with Valentine who could more than carry a match.

Now it’s time for the fun part of this. Ok so back in the 80s there was a show called Tuesday Night Titans, which is basically a WWF variety/talk show. Picture any stupid or funny segment that you remember from the 80s and this is where it came from. There was a running idea on here where Mr. Fuji and Don Muraco were convinced they were too talented to be in the WWF anymore so they made their own series of TV pilots such as Fuji Vice (Hawaiian cops), Fujito Bandito (western) and this one: Fuji General. It’s a comedy skit but the idea is that it’s supposed to be pure drama with the two in perfect character.

Muraco and Fuji are on the set of TNT (the show was set up like a late night talk show) and Muraco says this is an awful script with a bad director but they’re the only ones talented enough to make it work. It’s at a hospital with overly dramatic music. Muraco is a doctor who hits on a nurse who isn’t interested. His name is Norman here. The idea is that they can’t act to save their lives but they think they deserve Oscars. The nurse turns him down and the dramatic music hits again.

He keeps clearly reading off cue cards so the director yells cut about how bad the acting is. Fuji comes in with the had, bowtie, doctor coat and thick accent. We cut to a new scene in a patient’s room and Fuji keeps looking straight at the camera. They hit on the nurse again or something and Fuji fires the nurse. Muraco hits on her again after Fuji leaves so the director yells again. “Stop being a wrestler for a bit and act!” Muraco tries to get the nurse to have an affair with him so he hits on her and looks at the camera/cue cards the whole time. The director yells again so Fuji comes in and it’s a big argument. Fuji and Muraco quit.

Back to the set of the talk show and everyone is cracking up, which is a regular ending for these segments. Vince says that was the worst acting he’s ever seen. When Vince McMahon is making fun of your film making, YOU SUCK.

Women’s Title: Wendi Richter vs. Lelani Kai

Richter broke the 20 or whatever year reign of Moolah and is defending here. Joined in progress with Kai in control. Moolah has been training Kai apparently. Kai misses a charge and hits the floor. A woman just went crashing onto concrete so of course the MSG fans cheer. Richter suplexes her back in and hooks a bad surfboard. This is in mid-February of 85 in case you’re curious.

Richter takes her down and works on the arm to control. This was back in the day when Moolah basically trained every chick there was so you can expect to see a lot of the same stuff and the same look from most of the girls. Kai comes back with a choke and the announcers blast the referee for being out of position. The match isn’t very good but the fans loved Richter (or maybe her manager, pop star Cyndi Lauper) so it works.

Big boot puts Lelani down as does a slam. Must be watching a lot of Hogan stuff around this time. Moolah goes after Lauper and you would think the President was being attacked. Moolah looks like she’s wearing the same sweater that Liz wore at Mania 7. Either way the distraction and a right hand to Richter are enough for Kai to backslide her for the pin and the title. Richter would get it back at the first Mania in about 6 weeks.

Rating: D-. This was all about the shock of the title change so that they could do another title switch at the first Mania which is fine. Richter’s outfit was probably smaller than what most of the Divas wear today if you can imagine that. Very bad match from an in ring perspective though. For the life of me I don’t get why they brought Kai out of mothballs for Mania 10 and a match with Alundra Blayze.

Women’s Title: Wendi Richter vs. The Spider

Now THIS is a famous match for reasons I’ll get to at the end. Spider is in a mask. Joined in progress again and from November of 85. A flying headscissors gets two for Richter. Richter gets a “clothesline” for two. Small package looks to get two for Spider but when Richter is trying to kick out (and gets her shoulder up) the referee keeps counting three. And that my friends is a shoot.

Post match Wendi keeps going because that wasn’t the planned finish and rips the mask off to reveal Moolah. Here’s what happened: Richter was having contract issues (details of which vary based on who is telling the story. Richter says money, Vince/WWF says her contract was up) and Vince decided to get the title off her. Spider Lady was supposed to be some random chick but instead it was Moolah, a legit tough chick. After this, Richter quit on the spot and left the arena in her gear. She never appeared again and allegedly never spoke to Moolah or Vince again. This is known as the Original Screwjob.

Intercontinental Title: Jesse Ventura vs. Tito Santana

Interesting point to start: we’re told that Jesse and Adonis held the tag titles. They did, but they were the AWA tag titles. They said this regularly but it wasn’t something you expect to hear. I think this is in Toronto. Jesse complains about the closed fist because that’s what heels do before punching their opponents. He calls Santana Chico which is always awesome. Jesse keeps getting caught in holds and heading for the ropes.

Time for a wristlock as the fans are almost all behind Jesse. They pop for Tito’s reversal as well though so I guess the Canadians are confused here. Off to a headlock but Jesse gets a knee to the ribs to take over. Out to the floor now and it’s confirmed that we’re in Toronto. Jesse’s offense is pretty basic but he knows how to work a crowd like a master which is more important.

Tito gets in a few punches but Ventura pokes him in the eye to stop him. Win if you can, lose if you must but always cheat. Backbreaker gets two and an atomic drop does the same. Here’s a bearhug which makes sense given the back work that was done earlier. Tito smacks him in the head to escape. Gorilla: “Look at that firey Mexican!” Tito grabs the Figure Four but Jesse gets the rope. They fight up the ramp and Tito puts the Figure Four on out there but Jesse kicks him into the ring for the countout win.

Rating: C. Not bad here but it worked for the most part. It was actually a double countout if you care. This was fine for a house show title defense, especially with someone like Jesse who was a rarity to see in the ring at this point. He knew how to work a crowd but the people loved him which is the right idea.

Andre the Giant/Jay Strongbow/Ivan Putski/Rocky Johnson vs. Wild Samoans/Samula/Big John Studd

This is the ultra rare three out of five falls match. And in an eight man tag too. Not bad for a gimmick match main event. You should know most of these people. Samula is the third Samoan and more or less just a backup guy. He’s more famous as Samu of the Headshrinkers. We’re in Philly here and Samula starts with Rocky. This is a pretty high profile tag match.

Afa steps in, Andre steps in, Afa steps out. Afa is in again to face Rocky. Rocky was very popular back in the day and I like him more every time I see him. For some reason the teams are on full sides of the apron instead of in one corner each. Off to Studd to take on Rocky but Andre wants in. You don’t tell a giant no so it’s off to Sika. Andre rams John and Sika’s heads together and waits on an opponent.

Sika begs off but Andre destroys him anyway. This is 1983 so Andre can still move. Here’s Strongbow who still looks like a human. He hooks the sleeper and everything breaks down. Johnson grabs Sika so Andre can chop him. Double headbutt takes Strongbow down. The Samoans are tossed around by Andre and there was a bell for some reason. Gary Capetta is the announcer if you care. The first fall is a DQ against the Samoan team so it’s 1-0 heroes.

Jay is one of the people in but we don’t have an opponent. Ok so it’s Samula. Studd choked Jay to give the Samoan the advantage and Andre isn’t pleased. A headbutt puts Strongbow down and a falling version of it ties us up. Strongbow whips Samula into Andre’s boot which is good for the third fall, making it 2-1. It might have lasted 20 seconds. 23 actually.

Round four starts and the fans want the battle of the giants. Putski hasn’t been in yet. It’s Strongbow vs. I believe Afa to get this one going. Now we get some Polish Power. He rams Samoan heads together and pounds on Afa. Sika finally gets a shot in and the Samoans take over on Ivan. A double headbutt sends him flying, but he flies right to Andre. The Giant cleans house and breaks up a triple team. Samula jumps into a boot and Andre sits on him to win three falls to one.

Rating: C. The match wasn’t all that exciting but this was to fire up the crowd with something new and I think you can safely say they did just that. Not a great match or anything but it got a lot of big names in there and the fans got everything but the top request they had, but that was certainly coming. Fun way to end things.

Overall Rating: C. Not a terrible tape here and certainly watchable. One thing I never got: why isn’t Hogan in a lot of these? I mean he’s in most of them but you would expect a series that started in like 1983-84 (he was on volume 1) to have more of him in it. Anyway, this was fine although nothing worth going out of your way to see, except Fuji General but I’d recommend finding the TNT Coliseum Video (remember that’s Tuesday Night Titans) which has I believe all of them in one tape.

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