The tape opens by showing the end of Wrestlemania 8, where the Warrior returned to save Hulk Hogan from Papa Shango and Sid Vicious. Oddly, they took off Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan’s commentary for several minutes before Monsoon suddenly starts screaming. Warrior’s return was a Hell of a way to help the WWF fans not lose interest in the face of the top babyface leaving. I know the Warrior’s workrate and promos are now derided, but the kids watching this at the time (ME!) were thrilled.
WWF champion Hulk Hogan vs. the Ultimate Warrior
This is the classic from Wrestlemania 6 of course. Monsoon and Lord Alfred Hayes dubbed new commentary for this tape, probably to eliminate Jesse Ventura and his royalty demands.
This match was just about the zenith of my childhood fandom as the two biggest stars in my world were colliding. I was gutted somewhat when I learned years after the fact that this epic event was actually a box office disappointment as the WWF machine was starting to break down.
Hogan and Warrior waste no time exchanging tests of might as they shove one another. The champions then lock arms and try and drain the other’s power. This leads to the infamous “blowjob” moment that will live forever in gif form.
The men take turns falling to the other’s power. Hogan outsmarts Warrior with a leg trip to setup a near fall. Warrior no sells an elbow and slam. He then slams Hogan, who does sell. Hogan is dumped to the floor and acts as if his knee blew out.
Warrior attacks the knee, so Hogan rakes his eyes. Warrior rakes Hogan’s eyes in response. Hogan is pissed that someone dared to stand up to his cheating and starts throwing punches while no longer selling his knee. Hogan turns to a headlock and chin lock to give Warrior a chance to suck wind. Monsoon points out Hogan is no longing selling his knee injury.
Warrior fights out of the headlock after several minutes, only for both men to collide on dual clotheslines and fall motionless to the mat. Warrior starts to shake the ropes to fire up. He no sells Hogan’s blows, then hits Hogan with a series of poor looking strikes. Warrior diverts from his usual finishing moves and locks on a bear hug.
Hogan breaks free, and the ref is bumped as the Warrior collides with him. Warrior tries a flying shoulder tackle, but Hogan dodges it. Hogan counts his own three-count. Hogan protests, turning his back on the Warrior. Warrior back suplexes him for his own visible pin. Warrior wakes the ref up, and the fans rise to their feet as they buy this as the finish, which is astounding.
The men spill to the floor. Once they fight back into the ring, the Warrior delivers a methodically paced gorilla press slam. Hogan kicks out, and the fans seem to easily be behind the Hulkster compared to his crazed challenger. Hogan “Hulks up”, drops Warrior with a boot, but misses the leg drop. Warrior jumps to his feet and lands a splash to score the 3 count! Hogan kicks out a millisecond after the three count. Hogan drops to his knees dramatically and screams to God above. Hogan then goes to the floor, cradles the World title and brings it to Warrior for the “passing of the torch”.
This had to be seen in the moment to get the full effect of what this match meant. I will say it had a lot more “rest holds” than I recalled.
The Ultimate Warrior vs. Papa Shango
We go from a packed stadium in 1990 to a small arena in 1992, with a lot of darkness hiding the empty seats.
Warrior charges into battle, hitting Shango with clotheslines and strikes. He tries a splash, but finds only Shango’s knees awaiting him. This opens the door for Shango to club the Warrior with punches and forearms. Shango goes into a trance as he locks on a nerve hold of extreme discomfort on Warrior’s shoulders.
Warrior tries to fire up, but Shango blasts him with fists to down him once again. Shango climbs the ropes, but stops to shake up a spell. He waits too long and misses his elbow drop. Shango must have mixed up his voodoo rituals.
Shango gets right up, as Lord Al explains that he has put a spell on himself to withstand pain. Warrior shakes the ropes, fires off a few clotheslines, a flying tackle and a splash to win the bout. Shango, dapper even in defeat, puts his top hat on and leaves. I was amused by that.
This was acceptable for what it was. It would be hard to claim it was remarkable in any real sense.
The Ultimate Warrior vs. Skinner
This is from WWF Superstars TV. Mr. Perfect drops a lyric from Hank Williams Jr. “A Country Boy can survive” in reference to Skinner’s tobacco chewing. Warrior attacks Skinner, tossing him from pillar to post, then takes him to the floor and plows him over there too. Skinner is hit with the shoulder block and splash for the easy win. Warrior reaches in Skinner’s mouth and rubs chaw on his opponent’s face. Gross.
The Ultimate Warrior vs. Brian Knobbs
This is another Superstars TV feature match. The crowd heat machine is off the charts for Knobbs’ entrance. Warrior attacks both Knobbs and Saggs, wiping both men out three times with dual clotheslines.
Warrior tries to continue the fight on the floor, but both Nasties jump him. The ref is okay with this. Knobbs removes Warrior’s fringe wristband. Papa Shango appears from the back and takes the wristband. Knobbs tries to drive Warrior’s face into Saggs’ armpit, but Warrior reverses things and Knobbs is given the indignity of the pit stink.
Saggs uses a chair to down the Warrior. Saggs then leaves on his own accord and heads to the locker room. Warrior kicks out of Knobbs’ pin attempt and begins to unload with clotheslines, a shoulder block and a splash for the win. Saggs runs down afterward and Warrior smacks him around again. The tape skips Shango’s post match antics which I believe saw the Warrior suffer internal distress from a spell, ultimately (heh) puking all over a doctor backstage.
The Ultimate Warrior and the Undertaker vs. The Berserker and Papa Shango
Warrior forgave Taker for trying to kill him a year earlier? Berzerker had recently tried to commit homicide via his sword on the Taker, so we have this tag team war to try and settle things.
Taker and Warrior dump the heels over the top rope when the bad guys try a sneak attack. The crowd is nonplussed about all this. Taker and Berzerker start things off formally. Taker chokes the big man, but Berzerker is able to hit a dropkick (!) and send Taker to the floor.
Warrior tags in and batters the Berzerker with clotheslines. Shango cheap shots the Warrior to turn the tide. Shango tags in and drops forearm after forearm. Berserker comes in for some stomping. The crowd is motionless, perhaps lulled into a coma from enduring four hours of squash matches to get to this epic battle. As I type that, Monsoon mentions how dead the crowd is.
Both heels continue taking turns dropping blows on the Warrior until the Warrior is able to back drop the Berzerker to the floor. Taker is tagged in. He choke slams the Berzerker (called a “power lift” by Monsoon). Both heels are rocked by Taker. Warrior wants back in, and he drops the Berzerker with a flying shoulder block for the win. Berserker spins around in a daze and flops out of the ring in what was sadly the high point of this match.
Why would they show a match that the live crowd was dead for? It hurt the larger than life personas the WWF were always trying to build up.
Final thoughts: At only an hour, this tape will be solid nostalgia for a limited subset of the audience. This should get a hard pass from most folks though!
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