From the WWE Network: George “the Animal” Steele

Many terrible matches… but yet somehow an entertaining waste of a few hours

According to the network, this VHS tape was released in December of 1987, so I can’t imagine this sold very well at all. Steele’s push had already ended, and as big of a deal he was as Macho Man’s foil, I’m not sure fans in 1988 were going to clamour to buy a tape of a guy jerking the curtain with Danny Davis.  Then again “Mine” was still a thing, so maybe enough kids still cared enough to make their parents buy this.

No disrespect meant towards Steele from me, as I was as big of a mark as any when I was a wee lad. I was just commenting on the business side of this.

Hosted by Gorilla Monsoon. He threatens me with 90 minutes of Steele in action.

I’m expecting a bunch of TNT clips and stuff from the Randy Savage feud, but we’ll see how this goes. I just realized the opening Coliseum Home Video intro has several shots of Tom Zenk, who would have been gone for many months by the time this came out. I guess the turnaround time was too quick to fix that. The WWF was usually good about covering details like that.

WWWF World champion Bruno Sammartino vs. George “the Animal” Steele

I covered this one earlier in my “Inside the Steel Cage” review.  Seeing this in 1988 technically breaks kayfabe, as Steele is seen here talking to the police as he rampages around ringside. By 1983 he would be portrayed as a simpleton.

Gorilla Monsoon vs. George “the Animal” Steele

We are joined in progress, with Monsoon being downed via some questionable blows. Choking keeps Monsoon at bay, until Steele can drive him over the top rope. Monsoon rallies with a bear hug. Gorilla gets Steele’s weapon, and the Animal runs away in fear, allowing himself to be counted out. I guess I’ll be kind and just call this plodding.

George “the Animal” Steele vs. Randy “Macho Man” Savage

Courtesy of “Saturday Night’s Main Event”. This hits me in the feels as I can remember being a mere four-years-old and having my Mama explain to me why Elizabeth stays with a prick like the Macho Man instead of going with the lovable Animal.

Savage struggles to comprehend the whacked out Steele’s actions, and he ends up being flung to the floor. Steele looks at Liz and gets jumped because of it. He fights Savage off and the men take the brawl out to the floor. Savage uses Liz as a shield. Macho Man tries to jump him again, but Steele just kicks his butt. Steele eats a turnbuckle, gets jumped yet again, and just fights the champ off without an issue.

Steele stares at Liz again, gets caught with a flying double axe handle and is pinned. This was all about telling a story and the in ring action was secondary. They certainly booked Steele to look pretty dominant despite being pinned rather quickly.

– Next up is the infamous TNT skit where Steele visits a psychologist. Steele recalls that he is depressed due to having his tongue injured during a football game. This lead to him being mocked by his classmates.  Capt. Lou tells all the fans they need to root on Steele to lift him out of his sadness.

-“Macho Man” is on TNT. He tears up a WWF magazine with Hogan on the cover, throwing a picture of Elizabeth at her face because Savage is not next to her in it. A delivery man offers up some silly acting as he drops off flowers for Liz. Savage is pissed, and blows his top when Vince McMahon speculates that the flowers are wrapped in turnbuckle stuffings – Steele’s favorite snack.

– More TNT goofiness as Steele is strapped into a electroshock therapy device. Steele recites some perfect english before the doctor overdoses Steele and fries his brain again. Steele revealed in his shoot that he had dyslexia and couldn’t remember his script, so he just ad libbed his part here.

George “the Animal” Steele vs. Randy “Macho Man” Savage

From the Boston Garden. Steele dominates Savage right off, then mocks Savage by posing with the gold. Savage tries to use Liz to distract Steele, but the Animal smells a rat and runs away as Savage climbs the ropes.

Steele has Savage baffled and the Macho Man is tossed around the ring. Savage uses a foreign object to hurt Steele, but Steele only sells for a moment before he fights back. Another shot from the illegal object downs the challenger. Savage jumps Steele from behind, but the Animal bites him. They brawl to the floor as chairs are tossed into the ring. Steele grabs one and cracks Savage with one of them right in front of the ref. Savage runs off with the DQ win.

Macho Man comes back in and attacks, but Steele just smacks him around once more. Savage runs in for yet another attempt at getting a piece of Steele, but the Animal shakes him off and tosses his face into an exposed turnbuckle. The fight goes to the floor as Steele beats him up all the way to the locker room.

You can’t say they didn’t book the babyface strong as Savage’s only offense came from massive cheating, and even that didn’t keep Steele down for any length of time.

George “the Animal” Steele and JYD vs. Demolition

Holy mother of god! Monsoon promises this will be a “classic”. If I took a shot for every bump the faces take, I’d wager I’d end this match sober. JYD shakes off Ax’s opening attack. Steele bites Ax’s face and is confused that Ax’s paint wiped all over his own face.

Smash and the Animal make faces at each other, allowing Ax to jump him.  Steele bites his way out of trouble. JYD sells for Demolition doubling up on him, but the Dog doesn’t even bother to lean over to show off the effects.

JYD botches an irish whip in the corner by taking the “bump” by not even bothering to fall into the corner and he and Ax run into one another instead. JYD then sells a double clothesline spot with Smash by falling the wrong way. Steele saves us all from any more of this terrible wrestling by attacking the heels with a chair. This was gloriously terrible.

George “the Animal” Steele vs. Sika

The train wreck appeal continues here! Sika jumps Steele at the bell and the Animal actually sells for the Samoan more than he has for anyone else on this tape so far. Steele produces a weapon and downs Sika with it. Steele runs at the ropes the wrong direction and Kim Chee manages to trip him up despite Steele looking right at him. Sika gets a chair and smacks the Animal to earn a quick DQ. Steele gets the chair and abuses Sika with it. The Animal then abuses Kim Chee as the fans roar.  The fans ate this up, so we’ll call it a win.

George “the Animal” Steele vs. “King” Harley Race

Mike McGuirk and Bruce Prichard call this one, which is a unique combo. Race shakes off Steele’s first attack and delivers a quick piledriver. McGuirk is horrible on the call, saying “Boy, that guy’s strong!” and “That’s a headache number 2!” in a monotone drawl.

Race bumps around for Steele, even going ass over tea kettle as he hangs by his feet on the ropes before crashing to the floor. Animal chomps on Race’s arm. Steele gets a chair, but Hercules jumps him. Steve Casey and Lanny Poffo run in and are battered. The Young Stallions come down and fare a bit better. King Kong Bundy gives the heels the advantage, but Bam Bam Bigelow saves the faces. The heels walk off.

This was supposedly a match that never made air, so doing an angle of sorts was bizarre. Steele was willing to sell for Race, but whatever was gained from having a talented opponent for Steele was lost by McGuirk’s mute-worthy commentary efforts.

Back on TNT, “Adorable” Adrian Adonis plays dress up, so Steele runs in and wrecks the set.

George “the Animal” Steele vs. Intercontinental champion the Honky Tonk Man

This is from Superstars. Honky lures Steele into a position that he can jump him, but Steele shakes it off and messes up Honky’s hair. The fans go wild for that. Honky grabs the megaphone as Jimmy Hart distracts the ref and Steele. Steele is bopped with the object, but manages to get up and fight Honky for control of it. He smacks Honky with it for a quick DQ. The fans loved Steele dominating, but they went silent when Honky got the tainted win. Steele chases Honky off and then eats some turnbuckles for fun. Pfffft….

– Steele tours the WWF ice cream factory.

George “the Animal” Steele vs. “Dangerous” Danny Davis

The Network warns me that this is the longest match on the tape. I frown.

Davis stalls. And stalls. Then stalls. Steele finally catches him, choking and biting Davis which elicits a big reaction from the crowd.

Davis stalls some more. More biting from Steele leads to more stalling. Davis uses a foreign object to gain some traction, so Steele busts out a single leg into a knee bar. Lou Thesz would be proud. Davis takes 9 or 10 straight body slams and decides that’s enough and walks off. Just terrible in every metric.

Final thoughts: Well, this was bad…but had some fun moments. I can’t recommend it unless your a wrestling masochist though.

 

 

Written by Andrew Lutzke

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

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