From the WWE Network: Bashed in the USA

It’s the Shawn Michaels show as HBK is featured in four bouts. Plus a gigantic battle royal!

Hosted by Mr. Perfect.  He is at a stamp store looking for a “perfect” stamp.  This isn’t exactly the most amazing concept to hook us with.

Big Boss Man vs. Razor Ramon

The first thing in my head was “Hey! This was one of the matches the WWF announced for Green Bay (my home area) to help draw fans for one of their dreadful 4 hour squash TV marathons.” Then Gorilla Monsoon screams out “We are in Green Bay!” Monsoon claims 14,000 fans are in attendance. The arena held 6,000 or so at the most. Nonetheless, I am kind of thrilled to see this 26 years too late.

Bossman snaps Razor’s toothpick to show off his strength. Both men stall for cheap heat. Bossman tries a few shoulder blocks and neither man goes anywhere. They then do a test of strength.  They are doing a fine job of wasting time without having to take any bumps.

Bossman tries a series of cradles to try for a sudden pin, but Razor kicks out of each. Razor goes for the nightstick, but Bossman kicks it away. Ramon catches Bossman charging in, then cradles him with his feet on the ropes for the tainted win.  Bossman’s fall at the end was the first bump of the match I believe. A fine match to show how to get the most out of the absolute least, but if you want MOVEZ, then this is a hard pass.

Tatanka and High Energy vs. Money Inc and Rick Martel 

Everyone gets an entrance to waste the maximum amount of time. Gorilla uses Tatanka’s entrance to riff on Chief Jay Strongbow’s obesity. Lord Al brings up “Marty Applebaum”, which is the second time in these videos the name has been mentioned. WHO is he???

Author edit:  Applebaum was in charge of WWF Home Video for 11 years.

Dibiase uses his size advantage to control Owen Hart at the onstage of this match. Hart delivers dropkicks to both members of Money Inc. Koko and Tatanka run in to help clear the ring. Koko yanks up his pants, gyrates and vibrates.

Tatanka and the Model give it a go, which goes poorly for Martel. IRS and Koko square off next, with the Birdman using his speed to rattle the taxman. Lord Al refers to suspenders as “braces”. Is that an English thing?  Monsoon makes fun of Koko for putting on 25 pounds of fat.

Dibiase and Tatanka continue the merry go round of tag offs, with Martel volunteering his services once the Native American is downed. Martel uses IRS’ moveset as inspiration as he lays around with Tatanka in a headlock.

A six man brawl breaks out to end the tedium.  Koko gets smacked and pinned by IRS to end this paint by numbers snoozer.  I am surprised they showed a Tatanka loss in the middle of his (singles) undefeated streak.  Considering the potential this line up had, this was a big letdown.

Mr. Perfect delivers a stilted line about his stamp ambitions, then sends it to a “Toy Boy” Shawn Michaels’ profile.

Kamala vs. Shawn Michaels 

A rematch from 1984 Mid-South!  This will be a much much different match than that one was.

HBK tries to trick Kamala into shaking his hand. Slick is warning him not to. Shawn gets in his cheap shot, but Kamala just uses his power to chop Michaels to the floor. Kamala and Slick have a Reverend to savage chat, allowing Michaels to jump him. Kamala no sells again and smacks HBK.

Kamala uses chokes and a bear hug to wear at Michaels. Shawn avoids a charge, then slugs away at his dazed opponent. Kamala shakes that off and downs HBK with a sidekick. Kamala dumps Shawn to the floor. HBK tosses Slick, then starts to walk to the back. Kamala chases after him and both men are counted out. HBK couldn’t get a win against KAMALA on a tape showcasing him?!? To add insult to injury, Kamala drags HBK in the ring and splashes him, then launches Shawn to the floor. WOW.

Skinner vs. Shawn Michaels

What a bizarre choice for a heel vs. heel match. JR, the Brain and Randy Savage are on commentary. The Midnight Rockers against the Fabulous Ones would have been a heck of a match in 1986.

HBK bumps all around as Skinner lays in the punches. Skinner kicks, bites and chokes Michaels as the Alligator Man surprisingly dominates. Shawn gets in a little offense, but Skinner cuts him off and chucks him to the floor. HBK ducks under Skinner’s legs, and hits a superkick for the win out of nowhere.  Michaels got almost nothing against a guy who was pretty much a glorified jobber. At least these matches have been surprising in their structure.

Virgil vs. Shawn Michaels 

Well, if you need a clean win, pick a softball opponent.  JR defends ring announcer Mike McGuirk from Bobby Heenan’s mean lines. JR wasn’t going to be able to talk about his old boss Leroy McGuirk very often on WWF TV, but he alludes to him here.

Virgil keeps up with HBK move for move to start, before a superkick drops him. Shawn sits in a headlock until Virgil fires up. Virgil tries to mount a comeback, but HBK slugs Virgil off his feet. Shawn toys with Virgil with jabs. Virgil catches Michaels during a charge with a kick that looked pretty fake.  Virgil rallies with lefts and rights, setting up a flying clothesline. Virgil misses a charge, allowing HBK to hit his teardrop suplex for the win. Meh, this was fine for a time filler.

Mean Gene and Shawn do a little promo, with HBK wearing every gimmick possible (earrings, leathers, tiny sunglasses, gloves, gum etc) to try and get over.

40 man Battle Royal:  Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Sgt. Slaughter, Tatanka, Tito Santana, Virgil, Kerry Von Erich, Barry Horowitz, Jim Powers, The Repo Man, Kato, Skinner, Dale Wolfe, The Brooklyn Brawler, Brian Costello, Reno Riggins, Dwayne Gill, Chuck Casey, Barry Hardy, Col. Mustafa, Tom Stone, Crush, Burt Spears, George Anderson, Ted Dibiase, I.R.S., Beau Beverly, Blake Beverly, Hawk, Animal, Owen Hart, Koko B. Ware, Brian Knobbs, Jerry Saggs, Earthquake, Typhoon, Ron Cumberland and maybe a few I missed.

Kayfabe dies during the entrance as Mike McGuirk introduces “Dwayne Gill”, who comes to the ring dressed in all black as an Executioner. Then Macho Man calls Col. Mustafa “the Iron Sheik”. Bret Hart and the Road Warriors are the only guys who the fans even can be bothered to pop for.

Everybody gangs up on Quake and tosses him first, with Typhoon falling out next. Bret and Shawn tangle. Sarge and Hawk trade blows like it’s the AWA in 1985 all over again. A lot of fans are dressed as seats on the hard camera view, which is depressing to see.

Hawk and Saggs go out, and their brawl on the floor wakes the crowd up. Sarge finds the Iron Sheik to continue his attempts at settling mid-80s grudges. Animal and Knobbs go out and fight on the floor.

This match was over a year old by the time it was released on this VHS. Kerry Von Erich was already dead. Christ, I’m more depressed now. When Kerry goes out both Macho Man and Heenan praise him. Since JR is also on the call, the commentary was definitely done after Von Erich passed away, explaining that solemn moment.

Dibiase and Kato dump Crush.  Tom Stone and Reno Riggins are the last jobbers standing as we are down to 9 men. Dibiase and Virgil trade blows for old times sake. They both dump each other in a heap. Tatanka is left with the Beverly Brothers and IRS.

The heels all drop elbows on Tatanka. The villains blow things because they are fools as Beau is accidentally eliminated by IRS. Tatanka rises to the occasion and launches IRS out. Blake is knocked to the floor with a chop, leaving Tatanka with his hand raised. This was totally unremarkable unless you wanted to amuse yourself by booking your own mid-match angles like I was.

The lady at the stamp store tries to trick Mr. Perfect into buying a “2 million” dollar stamp.  He exposes her fraud.

Art with Bret Hart: Hart sketches some WWF superstars. This eats up several minutes of tape.

Intercontinental champ Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. Rick “the Model” Martel 

The men go tit for tat as they are both vets armed with similar technical skills and in ring career experience. Martel is popped in the face, which he takes great offense to, being a model and all. Martel tries to post the Hitman, but Hart reverses things.  Martel again tries to gain control back in the ring, but misses a charge and smacks his shoulder into the post again.

Martel absorbs Hart working over his arm for a bit, before finally catching Hart and dumping him throat first on the ropes. The commentary is a bit strange as earlier it was acknowledged HBK was the current champ, but here they are calling the match as if Martel could win the gold, even though they know it doesn’t happen.  I know they have to do so for the sake of the narrative, but it’s still a little awkward.

Martel tries a splash but lands on Hart’s knees. Hart begins his signature move set, but before he can lock on the Sharpshooter, Martel dumps the ref into Hart. Martel uses the moment to smack Hart with his “Arrogance” can, then locks Hart in the Boston crab. Shawn Michaels walks down and starts to beat on Hart, earning Martel the DQ.  Martel gets in Shawn’s face, and HBK walks off smugly.  Martel storms after him. I assume this was taped just prior to Summerslam ’92, where Martel faced off with HBK. If not, the finish is baffling.

The Natural Disasters vs. The Beverly Brothers

Surprising choice of a match as the Disasters were gone from the WWF for around six months by the time this tape came out. The Genius was also long gone. The big men dominate with their big ol’ bellies as they squash the Beverly’s in the corner.

Quake pounds on Beau on the floor. Typhoon is distracted by this, allowing him to be smacked with the Genius’ scroll, downing him. The heels try and work on the extra large moose of a man that is Fred Ottman, but can’t do much more than choke and punch due to the size difference.

Fun Fact: Ottman once contacted me on Facebook and told me to remove my shoot interview review I wrote up on him from RF Video.  He told me it was full of lies and I was nothing but a dirt sheet writer. I explained to him that it was just a recap of what he actually said and then sent him the actual video.  He got huffy, but dropped the issue.  It’s too bad he was sour, as I was a Tugboat mark when I was 8.

Anyway, Fatty Fattie Fat Fat tags in Quake, who batters Blake with a belly to bigger belly suplex and a powerslam. Quake tries to set up the butt splash, but the Genius gets involved. Everybody fights on the floor, except Blake, who is dead in the ring. The heels earn a tainted count-out win.  A true classic in the annals of tag team grappling.

The Undertaker vs. Yokozuna 

They spend at least five minutes or more on entrances, salt and flower ceremonies and Taker undressing. Lord Al and Gorilla are back to close the tape off.  We get the spiel on how we have to see these men live to appreciate their size.

This is a rare pre-Wrestlemania 9 clash between these warriors. Taker is knocked to the floor, he is then splashed in the corner once the Dead Man returned to the ring. Yoko drops a leg, but Taker no sells that. Yoko says screw it and whacks him with the salt bucket to get a quick DQ. Good lord, that was a let down that quick match was after such an extended intro sequence.

Yoko tries to deliver the banzai drop, but Taker does the zombie sit up. Taker rattles Yoko with blows, then chokeslams him to send the big man into retreat. The fans pop, so they appreciated the spectacle despite its brevity.

Mr. Perfect shows the stamp lady a stamp he has with himself on it as the payoff of this lame show long “story”.

Final thoughts: Despite my snark at times, this was a bizarrely enjoyable show which went by briskly.

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Lutzke

The grumpy old man of culturecrossfire.com, lover of wrasslin' and true crimes.