Wrestler of the Day – December 27: Warlord

Here’s a one note character who played a solid role in his own right: the Warlord.

The Warlord is best known for his insane physique and was basically there as the resident power guy who looked great and didn’t need to do much else. After getting his start in 1986, here he is in his first pay per view main event at Bunkhouse Stampede.

Bunkhouse Stampede

Dusty Rhodes, Tully Blanchard, Ivan Koloff, The Warlord (wearing a Lifeguard shirt for no apparent reason), Arn Anderson, Lex Luger, The Barbarian, Animal.

Dusty gets a big entrance of course with all his accomplishments listed. Did I mention he was booking at the time? Seriously, ONLY DUSTY had anything listed about him, including the match he won to qualify here, his world title reigns, his US Title reigns, and his TV Title reigns. No one else got anything but their normal entrances. This could get bad fast. All eight are in there at once. There aren’t any weapons like promised or anything.

Remember, it’s a battle royal in a cage where you have to throw them over the ropes or through the door. My goodness this is idiotic. Apparently it’s unheard of for someone to win three straight Bunkhouse Stampedes. That could be because this is THE THIRD ONE! Wow Dusty lowered some IQs. Everyone is in some screwed up street clothes of some kind and this is just idiotic.

Apparently the referee has to determine if a guy goes over the cage or through the door, since that’s overly complicated I guess. Wow shoving people OVER A CAGE looks stupid. See, when it was a regular battle royal, IT MADE SENSE. Blanchard and Anderson work together of course. Barbarian, Warlord and Koloff are in the same stable mind you so they’ll likely work together. Koloff and Dusty climb the cage due to idiocy.

I’m watching people try to throw PEOPLE over a cage. Does that sound stupid to you or is it just me? How hard would it be to throw someone that is fighting back over a cage wall? Because to me, IT SOUNDS IMPOSSIBLE. Also, there are a lot of people walking around on the top ropes which is just freaking stupid too. No one is out or anything yet.

Arn saves himself from being thrown out the door as I realize how much this sounds like a really bad comedy sketch. Koloff is bleeding. Winner gets half a millon dollars. Not sure if I said that or not but I don’t want to stop the tape long enough to go back and read it. I feel sorry for Ross and Caudle trying to make this sound interesting or intense or whatever it’s supposed to be.

Luger and Dusty just go off as we’re supposed to believe that a guy that is built like Dusty is supposed to be in the same kind of condition as a stallion like Luger. Right. Oh yeah, and keep in mind this whole cowboy southern thing is in NEW YORK CITY. They continue to try to make this sound good and it’s just failing. Wow this was ten days before I was born and 12 before Hogan lost the world title to Andre. Hokey smoke that’s weird to think about.

Still no one out and we’re almost 15 minutes into this. It’s mainly just people in jeans hitting people with belts and boots. Yeah it’s riveting in case you can’t tell. Dusty’s arm is bleeding from being worked over with a belt. Make this stop please. Animal tries to shove Anderson over the top. I want to break this match.

Koloff, like an idiot, although at this time he’s one of two former world champions in there somehow, climbs over the cage to get away from Animal and gets knocked out to take us down to seven. Oh sweet mercy kill me now. So let’s just keep the camera on Koloff FOREVER as we see the EPIC DRAMA of him standing up. Animal and Warlord fight to the door and Warlord gets knocked to the door. Animal gets kicked in the head by Barbarian and it knocks both guys out in a stupid looking spot.

We have Dusty, Luger, Anderson, Blanchard and Barbarian left. Blanchard gets put in the Rack which at least hurts him. Some fan shouts about how gay this is. Thanks for that. Luger takes a Gourdbuster and the Horsemen try to throw him out. Since Luger didn’t have any gourds on him though, he was fine and stays in.

Anderson, Luger and Blanchard fight by the door and they all go out after like three minutes of fighting. Arn at one point stood on the third step and choked Luger. Yeah he deserved to lose. So we have Barbarian vs. Dusty. Any bets on who wins here? Barbarian gets some brass knuckles and pops Dusty with them. Barbarian hits like three of his top rope headbutt finishers but Dusty fights back baby!

They climb to the top rope for the epic move known as the OH DANG THIS MATCH MAKES NO SENSE SO LET’S CLIMB UP SO WE CAN HAVE A REASON TO GET THROWN OVER THE CAGE! Yep, Dusty wins by hitting the elbow to the head and we’re done. Earl Hebner is the referee here but would be in WWF in 12 days for the famous twin angle. Dusty gets a big bronze cowboy boot. Give me a FREAKING BREAK!

We hear about Dusty was considering retiring before this but came back “for the people.” So he was about to leave and came back for the people. So apparently by coming back for the people, he just had to come up with a PPV for himself and put himself over in it. Sure why not.

Rating: F. There was a cage match with a battle royal going on. This was a MASSIVE love letter from Dusty to Dusty. This was all about getting him even FURTHER over and making things look even stupider. Somehow Dusty was the wildcard and the favorite at the same time. He’s US Champion already but was going to retire. I give up. Just a joke of a main event and a show.

Off to the first Clash of the Champions about two and a half months later, with Warlord part of the Powers of Pain with the Barbarian. Their first feud was with the Road Warriors, which produced almost no good matches but some solid brawls.

Road Warriors/Dusty Rhodes vs. Powers of Pain/Ivan Koloff

Koloff and the Powers of Pain are the Six Man Tag Team Champions but the titles aren’t on the line here. This is a barbed wire street fight. Animal (teaming with his regular partner Hawk and Dusty) had his face injured by the Powers (Warlord and Barbarian) and Koloff while doing a weightlifting demonstration so tonight is about revenge. The barbed wire is around the ropes and while it’s not the at the level you might expect today, this was a BIG deal back in 1988.

The heels finally crawl under the ropes but Animal chases Warlord out to the floor to send him into the post. Most of the guys stay clear of the barbed wire and fight in the middle of the ring. Ivan and Dusty send each other into the wire and draw blood but Dusty comes back with right hands to Warlord and a big DDT to Barbarian. Hawk comes off the top with a right hand that mostly misses Warlord before Dusty kicks Barbarian to the floor. Animal powerslams Warlord and Barbarian’s top rope headbutt hits his partner by mistake, giving Animal the pin and revenge.

Rating: D+. The match wasn’t much to see but the barbed wire was a nice touch, even though it wasn’t used all that much. It probably is better that they kept this match short and energetic as none of the six guys were known for their stamina. The Powers of Pain would jump to the WWF less than two months later so this was the blowoff to the feud.

The Powers of Pain were off to the WWF soon after this with one of the first matches taking place at Wrestlefest 1988 on July 31.

Power of Pain vs. Bolsheviks

Seriously we don’t skip this? The Powers of Pain came in as faces but were well on the way to being heels as they and Demolition would do the double switch at Survivor Series. The Powers of Pain have the worst music I can remember in a long time for a team like them. The faces, which feels weird to use to describe the POP, clear the ring very quickly.

Volkoff and Barbarian start us off. Was there ever a time from the early 80s to the late 90s where Barbarian wasn’t employed by one of the big two? He gets a sweet powerslam on Zhukov where he jumps in the air and gets extra momentum. To say this match is slow and plodding is a huge understatement. It’s all power stuff which isn’t something you want to see for a long time.

Warlord gets blasted in the back off the top by Zhukov and STILL manages to win a test of strength. Now THAT is how you no sell something. Barbarian gets beaten down as something more interesting happens to the right of the ring as you see everyone get up to look at it. No clue what it was but I’d rather watch it instead. The stadium is starting to get dark now and after a 30 second comeback which is a stretch also, a powerslam and top rope headbutt on Boris ends it.

Rating: D. I know I’ve been saying that a lot but dang this was boring. They just kind of beat on each other for a bit and then did the finish. These four just didn’t flow well together at all. For the life of me I have no idea why the company thought the POP were a good choice as faces but they eventually got it and switched them and Demolition. Getting there was a long wait though.

Same idea, first Summerslam.

Powers of Pain vs. Bolsheviks

The Powers (Barbarian and Warlord) are still faces here and have the Baron (Von Raschke) with them. Just like in the previous two matches the brawl is on as soon as the good guys hit the ring. The Powers double clothesline Boris Zhukov as Volkoff tries to sneak in for a cheap shot. Barbarian easily catches him coming in and sends him flying until we get down to Barbarian vs. Boris to start things off.

Boris puts his head down and…..something happens (it looked like a choke but it’s not really clear) before it’s off to Warlord for a gutwrench suplex on Zhukov. Both Russians double team Warlord but they can’t even get him down to his knees. Nikolai chokes away before Boris puts on a chinlock. The Russians have a double backdrop broken up and it’s off to Barbarian again. Everything breaks down and it’s a double shoulder followed by a swan dive to Boris for the pin.

Rating: D. Another lame match here but the Powers looked decent. The Baron would be gone in a few weeks as the company wasn’t pleased that a dark character was getting cheered, so they turned Demolition and their evil S&M looking gear face instead. Also did the Russians ever actually win a major match?

Let’s get some better opponents on February 3, 1989 at the Main Event II taping.

Tag Titles: Powers of Pain vs. Demolition

This is from the Main Event II. This was a live event but only the last 2 matches or so (Mega Powers EXPLODE) were shown. The other important thing about this show is that it was aired on February 3, 1989, or my first birthday. Demolition are the champions here and this is part of the feud that spawned out of the double turn at Survivor Series 1988. Axe vs. Warlord to start us off and the champs take over.

They switch off and Smash pounds him down with ease. I could watch Demolition do their pounding people down thing all day. We hear about the handicap match at Mania as Axe is sent to the floor after missing a charge into the corner. There’s a neck crank which is a required move in a power match. A chop sends Axe to the floor. Warlord lowers his head so that Axe can get a forearm in. Well that was nice of him.

Hot tag brings in Smash who hammers away on both guys. He always was good at getting fired up in there. A hot shot gets two on Warlord and everything breaks down. I think I know where this is going. The Powers hit more or less a top rope Hart Attack for two. Fuji gets up on the apron but Axe grabs the cane. It’s not a DQ for some reason but Fuji’s salt throw is good for the double DQ.

Rating: D+. I’ve heard that ending commentary before, I’m sure of it. I must have rented this tape before or watched it and forgotten about it. Either way, this wasn’t bad but it’s your standard house show tag match with these two. Demolition would hold the titles about another 8 months, giving them by far and away the longest tag title reign in company history.

The feud continued at Wrestlemania V.

Tag Titles: Demolition vs. Powers of Pain/Mr. Fuji

Demolition is defending and this is a handicap match. Warlord and Ax get things going with Ax pounding him down quickly. Smash comes in for a double beatdown and it’s off to a neck crank. Back to Ax for the same move and he yells at Fuji a bit. The Demolition beatdown ensues but Warlord powers Ax over to the corner for a tag to Barbarian. He shoves Smash into the corner and is immediately clotheslined down by a fresh Ax. The crowd is dead here.

Barbie gets double teamed by the champions and Ax hooks a neck crank. Back to Smash who gets chopped down before it’s back to Warlord. The advantage lasts for all of three seconds before the Powers finally get some successful cheating going on. Off to Fuji for the first time for some old man offense that is far better than Heenan or Hart at least. Barbarian comes in again and the yet to be named Kick of Fear puts Ax down again for no cover.

The match continues to stay in second gear at best with both teams barely moving at all. Fuji tries the flashiest move of the match by going up top, only to miss Ax. Gorilla: “He hasn’t wrestled in years, just like us.” Jesse: “Us? For Fuji and I it’s been years. For you many years.” Barbarian gets clotheslined down again and it’s off to Smash as everything breaks down. Fuji loads up his salt but hits Warlord by mistake. The Demolition Decapitator is enough to end Fuji and retain the titles.

Rating: D. I’m a fan of Demolition but this was a REALLY weak performance by both teams. The Powers would split soon after this which was the best idea for both guys as they were never going to break through the ceiling with Demolition on top. The title reign would continue to go on for another two months or so, reaching at nearly a year and a half.

Let’s switch things up a bit with this match from October 8, 1989.

Bushwackers vs. Bolsheviks

The Bushwackers jump the Russians to start and it’s a big brawl. After about a minute and a half of brawling we finally get down to Luke vs. Boris. This is more along the lines of a Sheepherders’ match than the traditional stuff you would see from these guys. The vast majority of the commentary is talking about how odd the Bushwackers are which is rather true.

Trongard can’t figure out who is who here. Basically the Russians can’t get anything going at all. It’s another big brawl as the Bushwackers bite legs. Luke gets in trouble though and the Russians take over for the first time. Volkoff is called the Russian Bear in blatant gimmick infringement by Hayes.

This isn’t going anywhere at all as we’re just waiting on the down under comeback to end it. The Russians here are straight up jobbers which says a lot. Somehow Trongard still can’t tell the Bushwackers apart. They look alike but it’s not like they’re identical. Butch comes in for the save when Luke is double teamed but accidently hits Luke. Luke naturally goes after Butch because that’s just what you do.

Hot tag with no heat at all on it brings in Butch who the announcers call Luke. Everything breaks down again of course and we get the dreaded heel miscommunication to put Volkoff on the floor. The Battering Ram takes down Zhukov, followed by the double stomach breaker and we begin the long awesomeness of the Bushwackers’ undefeated streak! Yeah I’m just trying to fill in space here. Trongard says the Bolsheviks are former tag champions which isn’t true. He was rather irritating on commentary for stupid things like that.

Rating: D+. This was a glorified comedy match but for a debut it was ok. The fans seemed to be into them for the most part so it’s hard to complain about them for the most part. This wasn’t horrible but considering this was more or less the peak of the Bushwackers’ abilities by this point, this wasn’t much at all. Not horrible though.

The Powers of Pain were in a major match at the 1989 Survivor Series.

Hulkamaniacs vs. Million Dollar Team

Hulk Hogan, Demolition, Jake Roberts

Ted DiBiase, Zeus, Powers of Pain

My goodness that’s an amazing face team. Ok, so now I get to explain Zeus. A month or two ago, WWE released No Holds Barred, a movie Hogan made in the late 80s, on DVD. The villain in the movie is named Zeus and you may notice he’s here. Zeus is played by an actor (not a wrestler mind you) named Tom Lister and the idea is that he’s living his character and is coming to beat Hogan up “in real life” because he lost in the movie. This would be like the guy who played Goldfinger trying to get revenge on Sean Connery. To make things even better, this was originally going to be the main event of Wrestlemania 6.

I’m sure you can see the problems mounting up already, with the main one being that Zeus doesn’t know how to wrestle. Other than that, there’s the idea that the movie barely broke even so a lot of people didn’t get the idea of the story. A positive twist to this is that a lot of people didn’t get the idea of the story, which probably kept the company from being laughed at more than they already were. Zeus wrestled like four matches ever, most of which were short or tag matches so he wasn’t in the ring long. WCW, the geniuses that they are, brought him back seven years later and put him in the main event of another PPV.

Anyway back to the match. The Million Dollar Team won’t let them get inside until Jake fires in the snake to chase them all away. Hogan and Demolition are the champions that you would expect them to be at this point. Zeus wants to fight Hogan one on one but their respective partners hold them both back. Jake starts with Zeus but the actor wants Hogan. They stare each other down and Hogan bounces off Zeus. Hogan pounds away but nothing hurts Zeus at all.

Instead Hulk finds the one weak spot on Zeus by raking the eyes. He slams Zeus down and amazingly enough, IT DOESN’T REALLY DO MUCH. Barbarian hits Hogan in the back of the head and Zeus twists Hogan’s neck around. He starts choking away and it’s a DQ for Zeus who is only pulled off by DiBiase and the promise of money. Just to clarify, we’re giving the Hulkamaniacs, an 80s dream team, a man advantage. Also why would DiBiase get Zeus off Hogan? Wouldn’t Hogan’s pain and agony make DiBiase happy?

It’s DiBiase vs. Hogan now and Hulk is in big trouble. DiBiase hammers away in the corner but Hulk gets a boot up in the corner and there’s the tag to Jake. A clothesline puts DiBiase on the floor and it’s off to Ax who demolishes DiBiase with ease. Smash comes in and they both pound Ted down. Back to Hogan who triple teams DiBiase along with Demolition. Back to Ax with a clothesline but DiBiase elbows him down out of desperation.

Off to Warlord as these two teams are still feuding even a year later. Come to think of it there wasn’t much else in between for those guys either. Dang did the division fall that fast in just a year? A shoulder breaker puts Ax down but Barbarian misses a middle rope elbow. Off to Warlord again but he gets clotheslined down. Fuji trips Ax up and a basic elbow drop is enough to tie the score.

It’s Smash vs. Warlord now but it’s quickly off to Hogan. Hulk softens him up to bring in Jake, which Jesse calls a mismatch. That’s likely based on power but I’m pretty sure Jake is taller than Warlord. Off to Smash but Warlord pokes him in the eye to take over. Back to Barbarian whose big boot is caught but Smash misses the elbow. DiBiase comes back in with those falling punches of his which get two.

It’s chinlock time with a knee in Smash’s back. DiBiase misses a middle rope back elbow of all things but Smash won’t tag for some reason. Barbarian makes a blind tag so the hot shot Smash hits on DiBiase doesn’t count and Barbarian takes his head off with a top rope clothesline for the pin. Jake comes in next but he can’t DDT Barbarian. Barbie whips Jake into the corner with authority although I’m not sure who’s authority it was.

Back to Warlord as things slow down a lot due to exhaustion. Jake dives for a tag but DiBiase slaps Hogan to draw him in instead. DiBiase piledrives Jake but Roberts gets a foot on the ropes to Jesse’s annoyance. Barbarian misses a headbutt and there’s the hot tag to Barbarian. He cleans house and gets two on Barbarian off a big boot. A suplex gets the same and my goodness how rare is it to see Hogan get a two count? Hogan fights off both Powers of Pain but they catch him in a spike piledriver which is good for a DQ for both of them, making it Hogan/Roberts vs. DiBiase.

Dibiase drops knees on Hogan before slapping on the Million Dollar Dream. That eventually gets two arm drops and Jake makes the save. That’s actually a nice touch as it makes the hold look stronger by needing a save instead of Hogan saving himself. Hogan finally breaks the hold and punches a jumping DiBiase. Hot tag brings in the Snake who cleans house. Jake drives in knees on DiBiase’s head as Hogan is dying in the corner.

Here’s Virgil to interfere and take the DDT. DiBiase drops a fist on Jake and puts his feet on the ropes to steal the pin. Ted pounds on Hogan who is still reeling from the long Million Dollar Dream. I’ll give him credit as that’s some great selling of a hold like that. Off to a chinlock and Hogan taps, which wouldn’t mean a thing for years. Hogan breaks the hold but they clothesline each other. DiBiase belly to back suplexes him and it’s Hulk Up time. You know the rest and there’s the legdrop.

Rating: C. There’s one major problem with this match: the first four minutes of this match give away the ending almost immediately. How can you give Hogan, Roberts and Demolitio a man advantage that fast? I’m not saying Hogan should have lost, but the Zeus stuff could have come later in the match and worked much better. Have Zeus stand on the apron most of the match and it would have worked fine. The fans finally reacted though.

Here are some better opponents on January 15, 1990 in MSG.

The Rockers vs. Powers of Pain

At Madison Square Garden at some point during the Colossal Connection’s title reign, putting this at some point from December 13, 1989 and Wrestlemania 6. Shawn and Barbarian start us off. Jim on commentary never was someone I was into but that accent was always catchy I guess. At least Gorilla is there to help us out. Power vs. speed here of course.

Bearhug to Shawn for a bit followed by Barbarian destroying him with a clothesline. The Rockers do the slam/dropkick to the back of the partner for the cover spot for two. They hammer away on Barbarian but can’t get anything going due to his power game. Double superkick can’t get him down but a double clothesline cane. The Rockers clear the ring to a nice response.

Warlord comes in and crushes the back of Shawn with big pounding shots. SLICK spot as Warlord has Shawn up for a powerbomb and Marty gets a dropkick to his back so Shawn can snap off a rana for two. Nice move. Off to Marty who takes the powerbomb instead. No save from Shawn as you can see the seeds being planted for the heel turn a mere year and a half later.

BIG backdrop has Marty in trouble. Into the ropes again with Warlord LAUNCHING Marty into the air so high that my eyes got very big in shock. That was VERY impressive. And you can tell I mean that because I’m capitalizing words. Barbarian in now and the beating continues. The Rockers were so awesome at selling it was unreal. On the floor after a big boot, Marty takes a cane to the back from Fuji.

Somersault off a clothesline by Marty as the selling is awesome again. Marty hits Warlord a few times and it gets absolutely no reaction at all. Back to the bearhug as Marty is in big trouble. Finally Marty gets a shot off the middle rope to….do nothing at all since a few seconds later he jumps into a powerslam that looked SICK.

Second rope elbow misses as always and there’s the hot tag to Shawn after some stumbling around to find the right corner. Marty must have gotten the Columbian stuff tonight. The crowd gets way into this very quickly. Everything goes insane with a bunch of near falls off double team moves from the Rockers. Marty is whipped into Barbarian to take them both down. Fuji trips up Shawn and an elbow ends this. Wow nice way to have your profiled guys look weak.

Rating: B. Classic big man vs. little man tag match here and it worked rather well. The Rockers could crank it up with the best of them and they certainly did that here. The Powers were a good big man team that did exactly what they were supposed to do in making smaller teams like the Rockers look like big threats. Also if you ever want to see some great selling, take a look at this match with the Rockers looking incredible in that area.

The team would split soon after this and we’ll pick things up with Warlord as a singles guy at Summerslam 1990.

Warlord vs. Tito Santana

Piper makes Mexican jokes as Tito grabs a headlock. Warlord easily shoves him down and Piper suggests going for a taco. Three straight dropkicks send Warlord out to the floor for a consultation with Slick. Back in and Tito pounds away but is launched to the outside on a kickout. Warlord rams Tito’s back into the post as Piper does a horrible Slick impression. Back in and Warlord pounds on the back but Tito fires off a quick clothesline and right hands. The flying forearm hits out of nowhere but Warlord gets his foot on the ropes. Back up a few seconds later and a powerslam abruptly ends Tito.

Rating: D+. Tito was a jobber to the stars at this point and made Warlord look as good as he could have, but the match was nothing special at all. Warlord just wasn’t all that good other than having muscles on top of muscles. Tito also jobbed to Barbarian at Wrestlemania so they had an idea of what they were using him for at this time.

Then he would be in the Grand Finale Match of Survival at Survivor Series 1990.

Hulk Hogan/Tito Santana/Ultimate Warrior vs. Ted DiBiase/Visionaries

If you can’t see the ending of this coming, just go click on something else now. Oddly enough, Hogan comes out before Tito. Tito and Warlord start and a forearm ends Warlord in less than 30 seconds. To update a reference for 2012, Tito is apparently the Ronda Rousey of the WWF. Roma immediately powerslams Tito and brings in DiBiase. My goodness a 20 minute Santana vs. DiBiase match would freaking rock. Tito misses another forearm and a hot shot gets the pin for DiBiase.

Hogan comes in and beats the tar out of DiBiase for a bit before ducking his head too early. A kick to Hogan’s face slows him down and it’s off to Hercules and almost immediately Roma for a top rope forearm for two. Back to Hercules who pounds away on Hulk even more, as does DiBiase. The Powerplex hits Hogan and has basically no effect. Roma is immediately pinned by a clothesline and it’s 3-2.

Martel comes in to beat on Hogan but gets kicked in the face. Off to Warrior who fires off a bunch of kicks in the corner and backdrops Martel. Rick tries to hit him in the head and boy are you really that dumb? Hogan knocks Martel to the floor and Rick walks off for the countout. Hogan beats on DiBiase a bit and there’s the legdrop. Warrior beats Hercules with the splash about 40 seconds later to win.

Rating: D. What in the world was the point of this? I mean……am I watching a house show? These are the kind of matches you hear about at the end of shows to send the fans home happy, not to main event a PPV. It was clear that this show wasn’t needed and that something had to be done.

Warlord’s biggest singles feud was with the British Bulldog, with one of the top matches taking place at Wrestlemania VII.

Davey Boy Smith vs. Warlord

This is about whether or not Davey can break the full nelson. We start with our standard power stuff as they ram into each other a few times, only to have Bulldog knock Warlord out to the floor. A crucifix doesn’t work for Bulldog so Warlord drops some elbows for no cover. We hit the bearhug but Bulldog punches out, only to get caught in a hot shot to keep him on the mat.

A BIG belly to belly (kind of) puts Bulldog down but again Warlord won’t cover. We hit the chinlock until Bulldog fights up and hits a dropkick to send Warlord into the corner. Punches in said corner can’t drop Warlord but a cross body is finally enough to get him off his feet. Warlord counters a piledriver but Bulldog counters the counter into a sunset flip for two. Bulldog misses a charge into the corner and Warlord hooks the full nelson. It looks like all hope is lost but the fingers aren’t locked. Bulldog finally flips out of it and hooks the powerslam out of nowhere for the win.

Rating: C+. This would be filed under the category of “shocking the world” as it was actually a pretty solid match. Bulldog would get a lot better all of a sudden while Warlord would fall further down the card than he already was. This was way better than I was expecting and it turned into a pretty decent power match.

Let’s try really screwing things up now on April 24, 1991.

Warlord vs. Jim Neidhart

Same show but later in the card. Yes, people were charged money to watch this match. Someone actually booked this match too. Someone thought this was the best choice of the talent on the roster. What does that tell you about WWF in 91? Warlord is more or less Chris Masters with an evil heel gimmick and a better look. LONG feeling out sequence to start as we kill some time here.

I shudder to think how long they could give this match given how long the tape is and how few matches were listed. Anvil grabs his foot and we do nothing for a bit longer. We hit the floor and do nothing at all of note. This is painfully boring to put it nicely. We get an I Am The Walrus reference from Roddy for the very old school people in the audience tonight.

The boring levels rise up as Warlord throws on a bearhug. His arms are deformed from so many roids in him. And now it’s a chinlock because we just haven’t killed off the crowd enough yet. This doesn’t sound too bad, but keep in mind that about 20 seconds pass between each move. We’re at well over 12 minutes and I haven’t left out anything but forearm smashes from Warlord.

Anvil starts his comeback, which of course is comprised of punches, forearms and clotheslines. Vince says Cowabunga for no apparent reason but it’s TMNT time (well we are in London after all) so all is right with the world. A splash misses for Neidhart and Warlord takes over again. And then a rollup from nowhere ends it for Anvil.

Rating: F+. This was FIFTEEN MINUTES LONG. Do I need to explain why this was a bad match? Well I might as well anyway. This was nothing at all of note and was just boring as all goodness to say the least. They TOTALLY clashed and Warlord was horrible on his best day, so this was just not going to be good at all. Absolutely awful and there’s no other way to put it.

Back to a tag match at Summerslam 1991.

Ricky Steamboat/British Bulldog/Texas Tornado vs. Warlord/Power and Glory

Steamboat is just The Dragon here, complete with what looks like a lizard man costume and breathing fire. The heels get the jobber entrance and have Slick with them. Steamboat and Roma get things going as Gorilla is listing off the rest of the card. Roma slams him down and mostly misses a dropkick before posing. Paul goes to the middle rope but dives into the armdrag and Steamboat cranks on the arm even more. Ricky hits a much better dropkick to put Roma in the corner for a tag to Hercules who gets caught in some armdrags of his own.

Off to Tornado and the fans go nuts as he rams Herc’s head into the buckle. Ten right hands to the head in the corner have Hercules in even more trouble but it’s off to Warlord vs. Bulldog which was a decent power feud. Bulldog hits the suplex for two and it’s off to Steamboat for a top rope chop to the head. Warlord blocks a monkey flip though and it’s back to Roma with a suplex of his own for two. Three straight backbreakers have Steamboat in even more trouble before it’s back to Hercules for a gorilla press.

Steamboat starts fighting back but gets caught in a big hotshot to put him down. Here’s Warlord again but he dives into two feet from Steamboat, allowing for the tag off to Tornado. The Texan cleans house but makes a blind tag to Bulldog who hits a cross body. That plus the Tornado Punch to Warlord is good for two as everything breaks down. Bulldog powerslams Roma down and Steamboat adds the high cross body for the pin.

Rating: C+. Nothing wrong with this as it was a basic six man tag to fire up the crowd. Everyone looked fine and the crowd was WAY into the smark god known as Ricky Steamboat. The heels were all about to be gone from the company with only Warlord making it to 1992.

And another elimination tag at Survivor Series 1991.

Team Ric Flair vs. Team Roddy Piper

Ric Flair, Ted DiBiase, The Mountie, The Warlord

Roddy Piper, Bret Hart, Davey Boy Smith, Virgil

Roddy was Flair’s first feud in the company as not only did you know the matches would be good, but the promos would be awesome too. Bret was feuding with Mountie over the IC Title, Smith was feuding with Warlord over who was stronger and Virgil was feuding with DiBiase because who else was he going to feud with?

Flair has the REAL World Title with him here, which is mosaiced but if you know your titles, you can see a WWF Tag Team Title, which looks really weird if you’re in the arena (if you’re not familiar with what I’m talking about, the short version is Flair was NWA Champion, left the NWA, wasn’t paid back for the deposit he put down on the belt, brought it to the WWF, got sued, and couldn’t use the title in the angle they were doing anymore so they would substitute in another belt which was censored in storyline.)

Big reaction for Bret, who has finally split from Neidhart and is IC Champion as of Summerslam. DiBiase starts for his team against Piper which is a pretty awesome match. No managers are allowed at ringside this year but Sherri is there anyway. Flair sneaks in and blasts Piper in the back to give Ted an early advantage. Piper atomic drops Ted and Sherri comes in to choke him which somehow isn’t a DQ. Piper kisses her and punches DiBiase to take over.

Sherri is sent to the back and Roddy brings in Smith. The good guys work over the arm of DiBiase with Virgil of all people getting the biggest pop. After all four go in they start going around again with all four getting in another set of shots on the arm. Bret stays in but misses a knee in the corner to put himself in trouble. They trade near falls before Bret takes him right back down by the arm.

DiBiase hiptosses him down and wisely tags in Flair. Bret starts with some of his favorite moves before tagging in Davey Boy to slingshot Flair into the corner. Piper wants in but Flair stops the tag. There’s the gorilla press to Flair and the tag to Piper, drawing a BIG pop from the crowd. Piper goes nuts with punches, knocking Flair to the floor where we get a Flair Flop.

Back inside and it’s off to Warlord who Piper wants to try a test of strength against. Piper is just playing though and brings in Smith for the big power match. Smith hits some shoulder blocks but misses a charge and it’s off to Mountie. Bret tags in and Mountie immediately hits the floor. Instead here’s DiBiase who gets elbowed off the middle rope for two. Ted and Bret hit head to head and both guys are down.

Mountie is willing to get in there now but it’s back to Davey instead. Smith gorilla presses Mountie and pumps him about three times before slamming him down for no cover. Off to Flair who chops away at the Bulldog which doesn’t work at all. DiBiase and Flair try a double team but get double clotheslined instead. There’s the powerslam to Mountie but he’s not legal. Flair comes off the top with a shot to the back of Smith’s head for the pin and the elimination. Both guys were legal too.

Piper immediately charges in but Flair tags DiBiase back instead. Flair comes in to face a downed Piper but Ric is put in the Figure Four almost immediately. Off to Mountie vs. Virgil and Mountie can’t get a tag out from anyone, because everyone is afraid of Virgil. I can’t say I blame them. He might tell them about how great he is. Flair comes in and has zero luck so it’s DiBiase vs. Virgil again. Ted powerslams him down and it’s immediately back to the Warlord.

Virgil gets sent to the floor and Flair sends him into the steps, with Virgil doing an awful job of pretending to slam into them. The full nelson goes on but everything breaks down and Bret comes off the top to take out Warlord, giving the illegal Piper the pin to tie us up at 3. Piper vs. DiBiase now before Virgil is quickly tagged in. Virgil slaps the Million Dollar Dream on DiBiase but Ted sends him into the buckle to escape.

Here’s Flair again with a belly to back supelx before it’s back to Mountie. Every remaining heel takes their shots on Virgil which is likely the best possibly option. I mean, do you want VIRGIL getting the hot tag? Flair covers him for two and puts his feet on the ropes because that’s what Flair does. DiBiase comes in and ducks his head, only to get caught by a swinging neckbreaker. There’s the hot tag to Piper who no sells everything Flair throws at him. Everything breaks down and Flair is sent to the floor. That’s important because the referee disqualifies EVERYONE in the ring, but Flair was outside and is the sole survivor.

Rating: B. Gah this was going AWESOME until the pretty lame ending. Having Flair be the sole survivor is a smart move though as it makes the fans hate him even more. This was a GREAT setup though and was on pace to be a classic before the ending. To be fair though, at the pace they were going the match would have been an hour long if they were going to do a full version. Still though, what we got was very good.

Here’s the final showdown with Bulldog at This Tuesday In Texas.

Warlord vs. British Bulldog

This is more or less based around Warlord having a full nelson as a finisher and saying no one can break it. Smith says he can. That’s it. Smith was just ridiculously awesome at this point so I’m sold pretty easily here. Naturally there’s not a word said about the match at first and it’s all about the Savage vs. Roberts thing, which is understandable. For some reason there’s a ton of times here where there’s no talking from the commentators which is never a good thing. It’s just dead air.

At least once they got done talking about the angle they focus on the match for the most part. I can understand talking about the angles a lot, but there’s no excuse for ignoring a match entirely. We’ve mainly got a power match here, but in this case it’s working. It’s odd to have Warlord go this long in a match and also against a guy that uses the same style he has. He’s managed by Harvey Whippleman.

That’s a bit early for him I thought but whatever. Hey it’s a power vs. power match and we have a bearhug. Who could have seen that coming? We’re about five minutes in and Heenan insists it’s over ten. I love hyperbole in wrestling. Usually the power vs. power doesn’t work but Smith makes up for it by having the wrestling ability to balance things out. That’s what made him so solid in the ring.

He was a hybrid wrestler that could do both styles and it allowed him to have decent matches with a lot more wrestlers than a guy like Warlord for example did. Warlord gets the Full Nelson but can’t get the hands in. His hands are on the side of the head so in essence this move is doing nothing at all.

That makes the escape look completely stupid. Smith makes the comeback and gets a decent vertical suplex which is borderline very impressive. From out of almost nowhere, Smith gets a crucifix for the quick pin. That was different if nothing else.

Rating: B-. Given what they had to work with here, this came off pretty well. Smith winning with a wrestling move instead of a power move was a nice little twist in there as everyone was expecting it to end in a power thing, but instead he does the exact opposite and it works. That’s a solid bit of psychology and it worked like a charm here. This might be Warlord’s longest match ever and it worked pretty well. Smith carried the majority of this, but not all of it.

Warlord would head over to Japan for the WAR promotion in 1993, including this match on December 15, 1993.

John Tenta vs. Warlord

A lockup doesn’t get either guy anywhere and neither does a Warlord headlock. Shoulder blocks have no effect either so Earthquake jumps up and down a bit. Warlord slams him down to a BIG pop and even the ring announcer says something. Now the shoulder block works, but Earthquake one ups him with a dropkick. This is a really slow match for the most part. An elbow drop gets two on Warlord but he actually suplexes Earthquake down in a very impressive display of strength.

Earthquake heads to the floor where he drives Warlord into the post. Warlord avoids a charge up against the post but it doesn’t seem to hurt the bigger guy all that much. Instead Earthquake comes back with some splashes in the corner and a powerslam followed by the Earthquake Splash….for two?

The fans are into Warlord now but it’s off to a bearhug to slow him down. Warlord fights out with right hands and takes Quake down with a big shoulder. A nice belly to back drops Earthquake but he’s too fat to slam. Earthquake gets two off a legdrop before getting the pin off a running clothesline and covering the shoulders with all of his weight.

Rating: C-. This was getting going but the ending really felt like a screeching halt. It’s so strange to see the Warlord getting face reactions after so many years as a heel in the WWF. Earthquake was the kind of guy that could make a crowd care about his really basic offense and he showed it here really well.

We’ll wrap it up with a one off match on Nitro, January 1, 1996.

Super Assassins vs. Sting/Lex Luger

The Super Assassins are more commonly known as the Powers of Pain but in masks. Sting takes a minute to come out. Craig Pittman comes up to the announce table again and asks Mongo to be his manager for no apparent reason. Nice to see this getting more attention than a pair of former world champions that had a major issue at the biggest show of the year.

Colonel Parker manages the masked dudes. They have yellow masks and black shirts and pants. They’re as generic as they sound. And now let’s talk about Hogan and Flair because this match still means nothing at all. Big powerbomb by the one we’ll say is Barbarian because I can’t tell them apart. A top rope headbutt confirms my guess. Hot tag to Luger and the Rack ends the Barbarian soon thereafter. Sting adds a Scorpion Deathlock for fun. They would get the tag titles soon.

Rating: D+. Glorified and extended squash with the wrestling being a backdrop to the talking to Pittman and the build up for Hogan/Flair. Notice that they have THREE angles being talked about here: Sting and Luger, the Pittman thing and the main event. This is a good look at the way the whole company would look for years. The problem is that it would stop being interesting and start being bad. Match was just a step above a squash.

Warlord was watchable when he had a talented enough guy to get in there with, but trying to have him carry something would be a disaster. He was a power lunkhead but was a great option for an enforcer role. The Powers of Pain were a solid pair of guys for a team like the Rockers to to bounce off of and then beat with a rollup but not much more beyond that. On top of that, he wasn’t around all that long as he debuted in 1986 and was gone from the WWF by early 1992. Still though, he was memorable enough and that’s more important than being good at times.

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  1. ted says:

    Warlord never did anything for me. He wasn’t the worst by any stretch of the imagination. I just found him dull most of the time.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    Yeah that’s my basic take on him too. He’s a role guy, which isn’t nearly as common as it should be anymore.

  2. RJAY63 says:

    Nice write up KB, I liked the Warlord’s look and his feud with British Bulldog back in ’91. BTW the sentence “WWE released No Holds Barred, a movie Hogan made in the late 80s, on DVD”….swap DVD with VHS or video 😉

    klunderbunker Reply:

    I wasn’t sure how young of an audience I was dealing with.