From the WWE Network: WrestleFest ’91

The Legion of Doom face off with the Hart Foundation in the highlight of a loaded 2 hours of WWF action!!

This is being hosted by “Macho Man” Randy Savage. We catch him sleeping poolside at his “tranquility base” having a nightmare about losing his career to the Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania 7.

The Ultimate Warrior vs. Earthquake

Lord Alfred Hayes and Sean Mooney call the match. Quake jumps the Warrior while he’s still convulsing from his entrance. Warrior doesn’t sell this and downs the big man with a flying tackle. Jimmy Hart takes the Warrior’s attention, so Quake can again surprise the Warrior from behind. Quake wails on the Warrior with forearms and stomps for a bit. Quake delivers his butt splash, only for the Warrior to kick out and begin his war dance.

Warrior rocks the Quake with 3 clotheslines that fail to knock over the corpulent criten. Quake is then slammed and splashed for the victory. Earthquake worked around the Warrior’s limitations as well as he could, so this was fine, if unspectacular.

Big Bossman vs. The Mountie 

The gimmick for this match is that Jimmy Hart is mic’d up so we can hear all his advice as this bout unfolds. The camera is also focused over Hart’s shoulder, giving us a less than stellar view of the action. The Mountie charges the lawman with his shock stick, but runs into a boot. Bossman then assaults Hart and strips him of his jacket.

Mountie bumps all around for the Bossman. Hart screams instructions non stop, which is effectively annoying after awhile. Mountie gains the advantage and puts a hurting on the Bossman’s leg. Bossman scores the sideslam out of nowhere to score the win after the Mountie stops his assault to gloat on the mic. The Mountie attacks the Bossman after the match. These guys are both good workers, so this was a fun match. I didn’t dig the gimmick at all, as 10 minutes of “Get’em baby!” from Hart got old.

The Rockers vs. Power and Glory

Hercules’ beardless, balding mullet look is really bad. He looks older than his mid-30’s because of it. The Rockers use their speed to out shine the muscle heads early on. The heels use some double teaming of their own to spin the momentum of the match to their favor as Marty Jannetty falls into the role of the face in peril. He tries to survive the physical punishment put forth by the rugged baddies.

Marty sells big, doing several 360 bumps off of clotheslines from his opponents. Hercules doesn’t take Jannetty’s ability to absorb punishment too seriously as he makes several arrogant covers that fail to secure victory. Roma misses a corner charge and the crowd gets excited, standing on their feet with anticipation of Michaels getting the tag.

Shawn tears through both heels, with Jannetty coming in to help. They set Roma up for the double fist drop, but Slick interferes. The Rockers chase him around ringside and get themselves counted out. The Rockers herd the heels from the ring to earn the time to celebrate despite their loss.

I find it interesting that they chose to air the Rockers losing to a team that was no longer being pushed by the time this video made air. I realize that this was probably in the can for a good six months, probably being taped at the height of this feud.

“The Texas Tornado” Kerry Von Erich vs. “Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase

Dibiase is all alone, marking this TV taping as having taken place between the Royal Rumble ’91 and Wrestlemania 7, where Sherri joined him. Von Erich introduces Virgil to rattle Dibiase, and the fans give him a big hand. Von Erich gets the jump on Dibiase, as the Million Dollar Man is mouthing off to his former bodyguard.

Von Erich dominates the early going with fists. They sort of botch a spot where Dibiase is posted because the men were too close to the steel and the move came across poorly. The Tornado punches the ring post by accident, giving Dibiase a target to use to take control of the action. This barrage ends during a suplex attempt, as Virgil trips Dibiase up and holds his foot down until Von Erich can earn the 3-count. Kerry seemed lucid and sold his bad hand well, so this was totally watchable.

“The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith vs. Haku 

Bobby Heenan is not with Haku for whatever reason. Lord Al mentions both men played rugby in their youth, which sort of goes against Haku’s gimmick. Smith is just busting at the seams with muscle, with his arms almost looking like they were photoshopped on his body, and I say that even with Smith’s chest being broad and heavily bulked up.

Haku gets the worse end of the early going as Smith out wrestles him, and uses his speed to keep the islander rattled. Haku rallied back with his awesome piledriver, which always looks very legit. He tortures the Bulldog with by pulling on his long locks. Haku traps Davey in a few rest holds before Smith begins his comeback.  They tease Haku cutting him off, but Smith scores a crucifix to snag the victory. This was perfectly acceptable wrestling between two good workers.

Brutus Beefcake gives us some grooming tips as he trims up some mulleted jabroni. Beefcake looks ridiculous with his big bloated muscles exploding from his skimpy outfit.  Bruti’s hair is a mullet, reaching down to his mid back (and is primped to boot.) This segment is just an excuse for some gross out humor as Beefcake rubs mud all over this guy’s face, then cracks an egg in his hair for protein. He then cleans the guy up with a leaf blower.

Greg “The Hammer” Valentine vs. Rick “The Model” Martel 

The veterans grapple in the opening minutes, with Valentine securing control of match. Martel misses a charge and dings his knee, opening him up for the Hammer to start to work towards the figure-four.  Martel waits for an opening, then grabs Valentine by the throat to switch momentum. Martel wears away at Valentine for several minutes before Valentine mounts his return offensive. The men end up spilling out to the floor and counted out as they threw blows at one another. The men continue to brawl after the match, with Martel being trapped in the figure-four to give the fans a happy ending.

These guys were old pros by this point and could probably have a watchable match blind folded, so this was a solid outing.

Koko B. Ware vs. The Warlord

Well, this is the first real potential stinker on this VHS so far. Warlord uses his bulk early on, with Koko countering with his speed to avoid being mauled. Warlord smashes Ware with forearms before dumping him over the ropes. Koko pinballs around for Warlord, trying to make his immobile opponent look good.

Koko gets a late tease of a comeback, blasting Warlord with a flying dropkick, but he misses a splash and gets powerslammed for the academic pin. Well, Ware tried….

The Legion of Doom vs. The Hart Foundation 

This match was plugged in the “Wrestlefest ’91” ad in WWF magazine at the time and REALLY made me want to see the tape. I think this may have made the Road Warriors’ DVD release, so I’ve probably already seen it, but I’m kind of excited to see this as I sit here now.

Animal and the Anvil start off, and seeing them side by side really makes me appreciate just how big and thick Animal is, as Neidhart is no small man. The men prove to be equals in strength, but Animal nails a flying tackle to down big Jim. The fans don’t react much as they don’t want to root against either team.

Bret Hart comes in to tangle with Hawk. Hawk is out wrestled, with Hart slipping out of Hawk’s power moves, but Hawk’s raw power still puts the Hitman in a bad way at times. Anvil comes in, allowing Hart to use several cheap shots to turn the Foundation into the subtle heels and take control. Hart and Anvil make frequent tags to keep Hawk down and rattled.

The Foundation’s success and Hawk’s comeback attempts both lead to little crowd reaction as they really aren’t willing to pick a favorite. Hart attacks Animal to draw him in, allowing Hart and Neidhart to deliver a “Hart Attack” clothesline. Animal saves his partner from eating the pin.

The “Pink and Black Attack” finally make an error as Hart is flung at Hawk, who moves. Hawk then clotheslines the Anvil and tags in Animal. The LOD quickly set Hart up for the Doomsday Device, but the Anvil breaks it up. Hart is tossed into Animal. That sets up Neidhart attempting to launch Hart onto Animal, but Animal turns it into a powerslam to score the pin. The teams make up afterwards to ensure everyone remains friends. This was a good match, with the Foundation reverting to their days as sneaky heels to try and earn hea. It culminated with a well put together ending sequence.

Marty Jannetty vs. Pat Tanaka

This is a bizarre end to this tape after we have seen so many top of the line matches. Tanaka bumps and sells big for Jannetty, upsetting Mr. Fuji greatly. Many fans have come dressed as chairs the way MSG looks here.

Tanaka takes forever to try and remove the turnbuckle cover as Fuji and Marty jaw jack. Tanaka slaps Jannetty, but is dropped with a fist for his effort. He tries to slam Jannetty into the turnbuckle. but the pad has not been effectively removed. Jannetty takes a big bump over the other corner in order to give Tanaka the advantage.

Tanaka tries to cheat by placing his feet on the ropes for a roll up, but the ref catches him. Marty snags a cradle off of that which I bought as the finish, but it was not to be. Tanaka delivers a flying forearm to retake command. He attempts a tombstone piledriver, but Marty reverses it and hits his own for the win. The angle of the blow was BRUTAL as it looked like Tanaka’s neck and body went different directions, but hopefully that was just Tanaka being awesome at selling.

Final thoughts: This definitely was an upgrade from a lot of these releases. Having many good workers paired up definitely helped make this a breezy viewing.

 

 

Written by Andrew Lutzke

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

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