From the WWE Network: WrestleFest ’92

Pro: Bret Hart has 3 matches. Con: IRS also has 3 matches. Can Bobby Heenan’s comedy save the tape?

Mean Gene greets us from a tennis court. Bobby Heenan stumbles in with a ping pong paddle. Hilarity ensues.

Virgil vs. Shawn Michaels

What a way to start…. This appears to be from MSG. This is from around Wrestlemania 8 as Virgil is rocking a nose guard.  The over dubbed commentary from Sean Mooney and Lord Alfred Hayes blocks out the crowd heat for the entrances. HBK shoves something in Sherri’s cleavage.

Shawn whiffs on his first punch, with the camera view showing air in between his hand and Virgil’s mask. Shawn sells a sore hand anyway. Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan are shown on commentary at ringside. This leads to Mooney covering it up by saying they are calling the show for the Armed Forces Network.

Virgil downs Michaels with several clotheslines, but HBK side steps him and dumps him to the floor. Virgil has his mask removed, allowing Shawn to drill him in his broken schnozz. Michaels works the nose for several minutes, which is psychologically strong stuff.

Virgil gets his comeback after getting his face mask back.  He then takes his own mask off to use it as a weapon, but the ref takes it away.  Virgil misses a charge and gets dumped on his head with HBK’s butterfly suplex for the win. This was perfectly acceptable wrestling.  I will have forgotten this match even happened before the end of this tape.

WWF World tag champions Money Inc. vs. The Bushwackers 

IRS cuts a fresh and exciting promo about how the fans cheat on their taxes. Butch licks a little kid on the way to the ring and the boy is NOT amused. That got a good chuckle from me.

The heels attack the Wackers during their pre-match romping. The Wackers recover and start chomping on IRS and Ted Dibiase’s bums like some sort of 2019 porn star (or so I’ve heard). Money Inc go right into a heat segment when the match formally begins.  The Wackers double team the heels to get the advantage. They battering ram both men to the floor and celebrate with some circular marching.

Lord Al guffaws at Luke shaking his ass in a taunt towards his opponents. Clearly Hayes is a fan of the subtle nuances of Benny Hill.  IRS ends the fun with rest holds.  Butch makes the hot tag as the announcers pretend the crowd is going wild.  Jimmy Hart runs in the ring, distracting Butch long enough for IRS to cheap shot him and steal the win.  They worked the formula tag match, which was fine for what it was.

“Mean” Gene tries to teach Heenan how to serve. The Brain wins the segment by saying “I’ll show you how to serve…” and then calls over the beer wench.

“The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith vs. “The Model” Rick Martel

Smith controls things with arm bars and headlocks until the Model is able to dump him to the floor. Smith at least straddled the arm of Martel to add something to the move and didn’t just sit there clenching his opponent’s upper arm as they suck wind.

Martel tries to use the ropes to get a tainted cradle win, but the ref catches him. Bulldog then rolls up Martel for the sudden victory. We get two workers who can actually go and they have the shortest match of the tape so far. 🙁

Bret “Hitman” Hart thanks Coliseum Home Video for choosing him for a profile. We then see the last few minutes of Mr. Perfect vs. Hart from Summerslam ’91. Hennig goes low one too many times, and Hart manages to catch him and wrap him in the Sharpshooter for the submission win that finally established that Hart was indeed getting a real push.

The use of Stu and Helen Hart in the audience added a lot to making the Hitman “real” and “our” everyman champion.  It made the eventual Montreal Screwjob and death of Owen Hart all the more tragic as the Hart Family were interwoven into our hearts.  Of course some could argue that it was exploitative of Hart to use his family to help get himself over.

Hart then shows us the end of the match he had with Skinner at “This Tuesday in Texas”. That was a good little match that I reviewed here.  Hart was pretty clearly reading cue cards as his delivery was very stilted.

IC champion Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. The Barbarian

Hart takes a bump to the floor to establish that the Barbarian is indeed big. Hart ignores physics and charges at the Barbarian three or four more times, getting nowhere.  Even Mooney calls him out on his strategy.

The Barbarian shakes off an armbar. He tries a bearhug, but Hart gnaws the rogue’s face to free himself. Barbarian smashes Hart into the ring post to soften up his back. He then delivers an AWESOME looking backbreaker in the ring. He locks on another bear hug to sap Hart’s will.

Hart escapes and begins to mount his comeback with his side Russian leg sweep, and other trademark moves. The Barbarian cuts him off and begins to maul him once more. Hart plays possum and catches the big man in a surprise small package for the win. Brains beat brawn in this watchable, but unremarkable match up.

The Natural Disasters vs. The Nasty Boys

Well, at least Dusty Rhodes would approve of this match.   Typhoon uses his blubber to humble Saggs. Then Quake smashes Knobbs for sport. Knobbs and Quake do a mini botch as Quake goes for an elbow, Knobbs moves to his belly, Quake stops and looks, Knobbs looks, then Quake drops an elbow on Knobbs’ back.  Saggs gets a cheap shot in to make Quake the face in peril.

The Nasties wail on him for several minutes, unable to do much due to his massive size. Quake mounts a comeback, catching Knobbs while he threw a punch and squishing him between he and Typhoon. Typhoon then goes after Jimmy Hart as Quake lays on Saggs for the win. Typhoon throws Jimmy Hart on Knobbs to help clear the ring. This was sort of dull, and kind of a mess.

WWF World Champion Randy “Macho Man” Savage vs. IRS

IRS gives us another exciting promo as he calls the fans tax cheats. Mooney and Hayes go overboard in hyping IRS as serious contender for the top title in the World.

IRS stalls. Jimmy Hart talks smack, so Savage goes after him. IRS stalls some more. Savage gets a move in. More stalling. Savage knocks Hart and IRS together. Hart distracts Savage again, allowing IRS to jump the champ and dump him to the floor.

IRS locks on his wide array of rest holds to ensure I die a little inside. This is how I spend my weekends? Savage makes a little flurry, but is knocked to the floor. More rest holds. IRS is certainly leaves me feeling as blase as anyone.

The challenger tries and fails at an aerial attack. Savage rallies as the sparse crowd tries to make some noise. IRS hits his patented flying clothesline, but Savage kicks out. Hart gets on the apron and mimes that IRS should drive the Macho Man into his briefcase.  Ref Earl Hebner watches on impishly as IRS tries to toss Savage into the object, only for the champ to reverse things and knock out IRS. Still no DQ. Hart is nailed for good measure by the champ. Savage drops the elbow for the win. Mooney loses all credibility in the future by declaring this a match that will be long remembered in history. Congrats to IRS for almost making Macho Man BORING.

PARTY TIPS with THE BERZERKER

Fuji-San tells us he is going to teach us how to throw a party. The Berzerker nervously screams at some invitations. He decides all the addresses and stamps is too much work, so he storms off and kidnaps some unwilling backstage geek. I laughed.

Next, the Berzerker shows us some noise makers. He can’t figure out how to work them, so he eats it instead.  We then needs food. He takes his sword and cuts off the top of a peanut butter container. He rips open a bread bag with his blade and starts to slop peanut butter on the bread by hand.  This was terrible and awesome all at once. It was a welcome break of all the mediocre wrestling.

El Matador vs. Repo Man

I am going to add my own backstory to this match and suggest this is Santana’s final revenge for Wrestlemania 4 when Demolition cheated to take his WWF tag titles from he and Rick Martel. A follow up injury by Demolition to Martel helped send Santana down the card as his partner recovered. While becoming addicted to pain pills, Martel became irritable to a degree that Santana was unaware of. Therefore, when they attempted to reconnect as Strike Force in 1989, Martel’s new sour mood led to his heel turn. Martel used his looks to become a model, which helped pay for his opioid issues. Santana meanwhile was never quite able to overcome Martel’s turn, attacking him each year at the Royal Rumble to try and work out the everlasting angst. This tape has driven me insane.

Repo does some good character work here, doing his best to get his Wrestlecrap gimmick over. The creeping around and occasionally telling the camera his deluded views on how he has Santana right where he wants him amuses me.  Repo uses a nice surfboard type armlock to stretch Santana on the mat.

Tito rallies and hits the flying forearm. Repo falls to the floor, but manages to grab his tow rope. He cracks Santana with the metal hook for the DQ. Repo then ties the rope around Tito’s throat. They do a nice looking spot where Santana is chucked into the ring post from Repo Man cranking on the rope. Santana takes some alka seltzer or something as he foams from the mouth to sell the attack. Repo sneaks off to the locker room.  This was a fine little angle.

OUR MAIN EVENT:

The Legion of Doom and the Natural Disasters  vs. Money Inc. and the Nasty Boys

A THIRD IRS MATCH. For the love of all that is good and holy….

It’s awfully sporting of the LOD to team with the Disasters only weeks after their long feud ended.  Lord Al alludes to he and Paul Ellering having a past in the AWA.

This must be from post- Wrestlemania 8 as Ellering is with the LOD, but Rocko has yet to ruin the last of their edge. Money Inc are still the tag champions.

Hawk starts off and faces down anyone who dare fight him. He slips into the unlikely role as the face in peril. I suppose the Disasters are too damn big to get any heat on, so Hawk and Animal are the best options.

After several minutes of rotating heels giving Hawk the business, Animal makes the hot tag. This breaks down into an 8-man brawl. Quake tries to squash Knobbs. Saggs goes down and finds himself under Quake’s ample bottom for the sudden win.  Bleh.

“Mean” Gene and Heenan finish their tennis match. The Brain tries to jump the net and crotches himself. Gene finds some ladies his own age and walks off with them as Bobby moans on the court.

Final thoughts: These shows continue to hit me in the soul as I see my childhood crumble. My memories of larger than life superstars are replaced by small, heatless crowds watching men largely go through the motions.

 

 

Written by Andrew Lutzke

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