Mega Powers Running Wild!

The legendary 'Macho man' Randy Savage teams up with 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan to take on Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in the first ever WWF Summerslam!

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

The Heartbreak Kid defends the WWF Championship against Mankind in a thrilling main event at WWF In Your House: Mind Games.

The Birth of the nWo

From Hulk Hogan's shocking turn at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 to the addition of Ted Dibiase, THe Giant Syxx and more, relive the very beginning of the New World Order.

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

It's one of the most famous promos of all time; Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the 1996 King of The Ring and serves notice on all the WWF superstars. Check it out in our complete review

Wrestlemania 12 Review

The boyhood dream comes true as Shawn Michaels battles champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a classic 1-hour iron man match. Plus, Diesel vs. Undertaker and more.

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

Was Sting in cahoots with the New World Order? Would Lex Luger be able to get along with the Four Horsemen as they faced the nWo in War Games? Find out in this review

Showing posts with label Jesse Ventura. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jesse Ventura. Show all posts

Thursday, 8 August 2019

PPV REVIEW: WWF Summerslam 1999

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1999 - Event poster
August 22, 1999,
Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

It is often said that, despite making many a rival over the years, Vince McMahon is willing to build bridges with just about anybody if it made for good business.

If there was ever one show that was proof of that, it was Summerslam 1999.

At one time, Vince can't have been too happy with Jesse 'The Body' Ventura, the former colour commentator who had publically sued Titan Sports in a dispute over royalties.

Aggrieved, McMahon famously had much of Ventura's work overdubbed on home video releases but now, taking advantage of The Body's status as Governor of Minnesota, he had welcomed The Body back into the fold in order to referee tonight's main event.

Speaking of that main event, it would be -as far as this writer can remember- the first time Triple H had headlined a Pay Per View as a singles competitor.

He had been in the main event of No Way Out of Texas: In Your House 20, back in early 1998, but that was part of a multi-man tag team match, rather than a world title fight such as the one he'd be in tonight.

With that interesting little tidbit out of the way, let's head to Minneapolis for Summerslam 1999.

I Have the Power

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1999 - Jim Ross & Jerry 'The King' Lawler called the event
Our opening video tonight began by reminding us of Stone Cold Steve Austin's history with special guest referees and enforcers, including the time Iron Mike Tyson took out Shawn Michaels in the main event of Wrestlemania 14, the time Vince McMahon refereed the Austin vs. Dude Love main event back at In Your House: 22 - Over the Edge 1998, and the time Vince's son Shane donned the stripes at Survivor Series 1998.

Tonight, the video package told us Austin would now defend his title with Jesse 'The Body' Ventura as the special guest referee. Ventura had repeatedly claimed that he would be bringing law and order to Summerslam, but both Austin and one of his challengers, Triple H, had both vowed to beat him up if they have to.

Finally, the video ended with Ventura telling us "I have the power," because he was, obviously, He-Man.

Out in the arena, Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler welcomed us to the show before we went backstage where Ventura was busy confronting Triple H and Chyna.

The Body Lays Down the Law

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1999 - Special referee Jesse Ventura lays down the law to HHH and Chyna
Jesse repeated his claim to be the law and order and reminded Chyna that she'd better not interfere in tonight's main event.

"Listen," said Triple H. "You make all the rules you want. I'll break them if I feel like it."

"You do that and you won't become champ," replied Ventura, stating a very obvious part of pro wrestling which was often overlooked in this era.

Y2J is Here

Elsewhere, Chris Jericho made his WWF PPV debut by standing in the parking lot waiting for his lackey, Howard Finkle, to catch up.

Last seen on PPV back at WCW Superbrawl IX, Jericho lambasted "Harold" for not being on time then headed out into the arena.

Everyone in both of those past two segments played their parts really well. It's fair to say Summerslam 1999 was off to a fun start, and that's before we'd even had our first match.

World Wrestling Federation European and Intercontinental Championship
WWF European and Intercontinental Champion D'Lo Brown (w/ Debra) vs. Jeff Jarrett

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1999 - Debra and her puppies
Jeff Jarrett had been doing a bit where he was sick of Debra flaunting her puppies everywhere and would yell at her. Tonight, he yelled at her to go backstage and leave him alone rather than accompany him to the ring. The former Queen of WCW did as she was told, only to come back out in D'Lo Brown's corner instead.

Once the bell rung, both champ and challenger put on a very solid opening contest with lots of high-impact offence.

To be honest, I was never a huge fan of Jarrett's at the time, but the more I watch matches like this one, where he really impressed, the more I start to like him.

Towards the finish, Debra got up on the apron where Jeff pretended like he was going to hit her with his guitar, only for referee Tim White to get in the way. With White distracted, Mark Henry ran out and turned heel on long-time friend D'Lo Brown by waffling him with Jarret's guitar.

Double J made the cover, White turned around, and three seconds later we had a new dual champion.
Your Winner and NEw European and Intercontinental Champion: Jeff Jarrett

Post-match, Debra lept into the ring and into Jarrett's arms, revealing the whole thing to be a rouse.

Edge and Christian Want the Tag Team Titles

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1999 - Michael Cole interviews Edge & Christian
Out in the back, Edge and Christian spoke to Michael Cole about leaving The Brood and how one of the teams they'd be facing in a few moments -The Hardyz- had aligned themselves with Gangrel.

The duo also spoke about how they were coming after the tag team titles in a promo that felt a little bit disjointed. On the one hand, Edge was already coming into his own as a character. On the other, Christian didn't seem to have much of a character at all and was a long way off being the Captain Charisma we'd all later get to know.

Tag Team Turmoil Match
Featuring: Edge & Christian, The Hardy Boyz (Matt and Jeff Hardy), Viscera & Mideon, Droz & Prince Albert, The Acolytes (Farooq & Bradshaw) and The Hollys (Hardcore and Crash Holly)

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1999 - Christian and his face
The winner earns a tag team title shot
The idea here was that two teams would start, and every time a team got pinned, they would be replaced by another until all six teams had been involved.

Edge, Christian, and The Hardyz started things off and absolutely tore it up. With a white-hot crowd cheering for their every move, the two teams displayed flashes of the brilliance that would make their rivalry so epic. That included Edge and Jeff Hardy running along opposite sides of the security barrier then leaping towards each other and Edge spearing Jeff in mid-air.

The whole thing was awesome and led to a well-earned win for Edge and Christian.

Mideon and Viscera were the next team up, quickly followed by Droz and Prince Albert, but despite taking their already tired opponents, both teams were disposed of by Edge and Christian in dramatic fashion.

The two eventually got the better of the valiant youngsters, but not before Edge and Christian gave it everything they had.

Honestly, if there's one match that you could argue was the making of E&C as tag team stars, it was probably this one.

Alas, it wasn't to be their day, and The Acolytes were left to duke it out with Hardcore Holly and his recently debuted cousin, Crash Holly.

The two looked to be a good match for a weakened Farooq and Bradshaw, but alas, they couldn't get on the same page. The two cousins argued so much that they were easy pickings for the Acolytes, who battered their way into an upcoming title shot.
Your Winners: Farooq and Bradshaw

Post-match, Hardcore and Crash Holly argued some more.

Backstage Shenanigans

Out in the back, we saw The Undertaker and The Big Show arriving at the arena in preparation for their WWF tag team title match against Kane and X-Pac. Man, I can't tell you how much I hated that team back in the day.

Elsewhere in the arena, Al Snow was seen talking to Pepper the Chiuaua, telling his little dog not to be afraid of The Big Boss Man.

Chris Jericho Interrupts The Road Dogg

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1999 - Chris Jericho interupts Road Dogg
Up next, Road Dogg came out to lament his fate at being left out of the upcoming Hardcore Title match and challenge the winner to a title match the following night on Raw.

Before he could wrap up, the D-Generation-X mainstay was interrupted by 'The Saviour of the WWF' Chris Jericho.

Taking to the mic, Y2J complained that 'Raw is Snore' was boring and that 'Summersham' wasn't much better, adding that all of the WWF's performers were crap, especially Road Dogg.

Though Jericho had always been wildly entertaining in his WCW run, there was something off about his performance here. It was stilted and forced, almost as if he were reading directly from a script.

That wasn't even the worst part though. The worst part was that none of this had any point. Jericho insulted Road Dogg for a bit, Road Dogg called Jericho a bitch and invited him to suck it before joining the announce table for the next match, and that was it.

Though I get that it was a good way to get both men on the show, it just kind of ended without anything actually happening.

World Wrestling Federation Hardcore Championship
WWF Hardcore Champion The Big Boss Man vs. Al Snow

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1999 - Al Snow beats up Big Boss Man in a bar
Man, was this fun. With Road Dogg following them around as a kind of roving-reporter, Al Snow and Big Boss Man didn't even make it into the ring.

Instead, they brawled through the backstage area to the outside and into a bar across the street. There, they engaged in all the usual hardcore brawling, albeit with the added fun and games that a unique location provided.

After several minutes of entertaining action, Boss Man pissed off Road Dogg, prompting the D-O-Double-G to hit him with his (Boss Man's) own nightstick. Al Snow then picked up two pool balls and smacked Boss Man in his actual balls with them before pinning him on top of the pool table to become your new Hardcore Champion.
Your Winner and NEW Hardcore Champion: Al Snow

Post-match, Al ran back into the arena, only to find Blue Meanie and Stevie Richards having after his dog, Pepper. Naturally, the new hardcore champion beat them up.

Hilariously, there was a spot earlier in the match in which Boss Man saw a guy with crutches, stole one of them and hit Snow with it. Now that they were back in the arena, Snow took the other guy's crutch and hit Stevie and Meanie with it, causing the poor, crutchless guy to fall over.

It was hysterical.

The Body Warns Mankind

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1999 - Jesse Ventura lays down the law to Mankind
Elsewhere in the arena, Jesse Ventura told Mankind that he wasn't going to disqualify him if he used a steel chair in the main event, but that Mankind would at least have to pin either Austin or Triple H inside the ring.

Foley basically ignored Ventura's warning and wanted to talk about politics instead.

After a quick look at the Lion's Den setting for Ken Shamrock's upcoming match against Steve Blackman, it was onto our next contest.

World Wrestling Federation Women's Championship
WWF Women's Champion Ivory vs. Tori

The best thing you can say about this one is that it is a thing that happened.

Both girls did the best that they could but the crowd just didn't care at all and it was a hard match to get into which is a shame because I really rather liked Ivory.

Speaking of the future WWF Hall of Famer, she picked up the three count here to retain her title.
Your Winner and Still WWF Women's Champion: Ivory

Afterwards, the champion tried to take off Tori's pants and top, but Luna Vachon ran in and saw her off. Honestly, I had no idea Luna was even still with the company at this stage.

The Rock is Ready to Lay the Smackdown

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1999 - The Rock lays the Smackdown on Michael Cole
Out in the back, The Rock questioned Michael Cole's sexuality before claiming that he didn't care about Billy Gunn's so-called surprises. A generic Rock promo followed, and when I say generic, I don't mean that as a bad thing.

The Great One was as charismatic and electric as ever here and, even from backstage, had the Minnesota faithful eating out of the palm of his hand.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the arena, Billy Gunn was seen ushering an unknown mystery person through the backstage area under a black sheet.

Lion's Den Match
Ken Shamrock vs. Steve Blackman

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1999 - Ken Shamrock vs. Steve Blackman in a Lion's Den match
The last time we saw Shamrock face Steve Blackman, it was the previous month at Fully Loaded 1999.

Tonight, the two would lock up in a Lion's Den Match, a concept not seen since Shamrock faced Owen Hart in one the previous year at Summerslam 1998.

Though Blackman was no Owen Hart, he did work well with Shamrock in what was essentially a cross between a no-rope cage match and a worked version of an MMA fight with weapons.

Yes, the two had hidden nun-chucks, kendo sticks and other assorted martial arts weapons around the top of the cage and used them to beat each other senseless in between brawling, suplexing, and generally trying to destroy each other.

The result was a very entertaining, unique match which Shamrock run by knocking Blackman out with a kendo stick.
Your Winner: Ken Shamrock

Out in the back, Kevin Kelly told us that Shane McMahon had attacked his opponent and potential future brother-in-law Test on the Sunday Night Heat show that preceded Summerslam.

Almost as if wrestling were scripted or something, Test himself just so happened to walk past Kelly at that exact moment, but was in no mood for an interview.

"Talking time's over!" he snapped as he marched to the ring.

Love Her or Leave Her Match
Test vs. Shane McMahon

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1999 - Test faced Shane McMahon
So yeah, McMahon was mad because he didn't want Stephanie McMahon in a relationship with Test. As such, this 'Greenwich Street Fight' was set up with the stipulation that, if Shane won, Test would have to leave Steph, but if Test won, Shane would have to leave the couple alone.

Before things got underway, The Mean Street Posse came out sporting various casts and other 'LOOK HOW INJURED WE ARE' paraphernalia after Test had beaten them all up in the run-up to tonight's match.

Then, the bell finally rang, and this quickly built into one of the most entertaining matches on the card.

The street fight rules, plenty of Posse interference and general overbooking (including a run in by Pat Patterson and Gerald Briscoe on Test's behalf) all helped the two put on a brilliant contest without having to do much actual wrestling.

Not that the wrestling they did do wasn't noteworthy.

I know Shane O' Mac gets a bad wrap for his sloppy punches these days, but back in 1999, he was busting out corkscrew moonsaults which didn't look half bad given his limited in-ring experience. OK, so said moonsault missed, but his later elbow from the top rope to the outside onto Test and through the Spanish announce table landed and was truly impressive.

After one hell of a fun ride, Test hit Shane with a pumphandle powerslam and a top rope elbow of his own then made the cover and got the fall.
Your Winner: Test

Afterwards, Stephanie ran down to congratulate her boyfriend in what was genuinely a nice moment.

Man, did I ever enjoy that one.

You hurt Sean, You Hurt Me...

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1999 - X-Pac and Kane
Before our upcoming tag team title match, we got a look at how The Undertaker and Big Show came together, and how their rivalry with Kane and X-Pac developed. This was mainly through Show and 'Taker beating up the faces and Kane telling them 'you hurt Sean, you hurt me, now I'll hurt you.'

Later, 'Taker would tell them that Summerslam would now be known as Armageddon. He was wrong of course, but you have to imagine that someone in the WWF's PPV-Naming Committee was paying attention to this one.

World Wrestling Federation World Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions Kane & X-Pac vs. The Undertaker & The Big Show (w/ Paul Bearer)

As I've probably told you before, I absolutely hated The Undertaker and Big Show back in 1999. This wasn't me hating them because they were heels and I was supposed to, but because they were slow, boring and as dull as the proverbial dishwater.

I'll give it to you though, this match was actually pretty fun.

The hot crowd, the whole story of X-Pac having a heart as big as any of the other three men despite being the smallest guy in there, everybody actually trying, it all added up to a create a bout which, while by no means the best thing on the card, at least held its own.

After a very decent contest, Undertaker Tombstoned 'Pac to win the titles for his team.
Your Winners and NEW Tag Team Champions: The Undertaker and The Big Show

Afterwards, 'Taker and 'Show had a little tiff because Show believed he already had Pac beat.

Meanwhile, backstage, Jesse Ventura tried laying down the law to Stone Cold Steve Austin, but Austin merely walked off.

Kiss My Ass Match
Bad Ass Billy Gunn vs. The Rock

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1999 - Bad Bum Billy Gunn and a Big Fat Woman
Prior to the bell, Mr Ass finally revealed his mystery surprise - a big, fat woman with a big, fat ass.

The stipulation here was that the winner would have to kiss the loser's ass (welcome to the Attitude Era), but according to the King of the Ring 1999 winner, when he beat The Rock, he would make The People's Champion kiss the big, fat woman's big, fat ass instead.

Finally, the match got underway and, you know, what? It wasn't half as bad as people make it out to be.

I've seen people dump on this match and Gunn's singles push as a whole, but I honestly don't think it was all that terrible. Ok, so it won't go down as one of the greatest of all time, but this was a perfectly serviceable contest in which both men at least worked hard to entertain.

Towards the finish, Gunn was in control and had his big, fat woman stand in the corner and show her big, fat ass (she was wearing pantyhose with a hole cut out). He went to ram Rock's face into the big, fat woman's big, fat ass, but Rock reversed it and Billy got a face full of booty.

Considering his whole gimmick was that he was an Ass Man, I can't really see how that was a bad thing for him.

What were bad things were the Rock Bottom and People's elbow which followed, giving Rock a somewhat predictable three count.
Your Winner: The Rock

Finally, we got a look back at the build-up to our world title match and with that, it was show time.

World Wrestling Federation Championship Triple Threat
WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Mankind vs. Triple H (w/ Chyna)

Special guest referee: Jesse 'The Body' Ventura
WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1999 - Jesse Ventura, HHH, Chyna and Mankind
Pre-bell, Ventura took to the mic and claimed that, despite the media calling him a disgrace for associating with the World Wrestling Federation, he was proud to be a wrestler and proud to be there tonight.

Once things got underway, this turned into one of the better Triple Threat matches Austin would have for the WWF title. Indeed, while the likes of his three-way with Undertaker and Kane at Breakdown: In Your House 24 left a lot to be desired, this was pretty good from bell to bell.

With all three wrestlers busting ass, Ventura played his role as the strict but fair referee to perfection, even refusing to make a three count when Triple H slammed Mankind with a chair and tried to get the pinfall.

After that, Shane McMahon came down to insist that The Body make the pin. Austin got up, stunned him, then had Jesse throw him out of the ring. At that point, Austin stood on the ropes to yell at Shane, but then Ventura did too and Austin ended up falling and getting himself all tangled up in the ropes until Triple H came to get him out again.

It was pretty funny.

Not that Hunter would have much to laugh about.

After nailing Stone Cold with a Pedigree, Mankind blasted The Game, hit the champion with a double-arm DDT and got the one, the two, and the three.
Your Winner and NEW WWF Champion: Mankind

Post-match, Mrs Foley's baby boy walked backstage with Ventura as Triple H reached for another chair and destroyed Austin's knee with it, effectively writing Stone Cold out of the show to go and deal with some legitimate injuries.

And so one of the better Summerslams in the company's history was finally over, and what a night it was. Although not every match sparkled, there was far more good here than bad. The opening Jarrett/D'Lo match was solid, the tag team gauntlet match was the making of Edge & Christian as stars and that Shane/Test match was far, far better than anyone could have ever expected.

I feel like I haven't said this in any of these reviews for a long time, Summerslam 1999 is a definite must-watch show. Go check it out, you won't be disappointed.

1999 events reviewed so far

Thursday, 28 December 2017

The Wrestling Album (1985) - A Track by Track Review

WWF - The Wrestling Album (1985) - A Track By Track Review

Today, I thought we'd take a detour from the usual reviews of WWF and WCW PPVs to go back -far back- in time to 1985 with the release of the World Wrestling Federation's first foray into the world of rock 'n' roll with 1985's The Wrestling Album. 

Unlike today's WWE Music releases, this wasn't simply a compilation of existing themes, mainly because themes, in the way that we know them today, didn't exist.

Instead, WWF's The Wrestling Album was a compilation of material that would go on to become an integral part of some wrestler's identity.

But more of that in a moment.

Before we get into today's track-by-track review, I need to state that I won't necessarily be reviewing this album the way I would a release from actual musicians.

That used to be what I did for a job before I switched to doing what I do now (including running this blog for fun), but today I'll leave my music snobbery at home and review this in terms of what it was always intended to be - a fun, inoffensive commercial tie-in.

Ready to dive in?

Let's do it.

1: 'The Wrestlers' - Land of a Thousand Dances

Here, 'The Wrestlers,' basically refers to everyone on the World Wrestling Federation roster in 1985, including managers and announcers, and also apparently Meatloaf as the drummer.

Can you imagine Vince McMahon allowing his roster to be called 'The Wrestlers' in this day and age?

Me neither, but that's beside the point.

Kicking things off, this motley crew of sports entertainers grunt, groan, warble and wail there way through a lairy rendition of rhythm & blues classic Land of a Thousand Dances.

If you've never heard this before, do yourself a favour and never EVER track it down.


I know I said I wasn't going to judge this by the same standards as a normal wrestling album, but honestly, you'd have to be as drunk as hell to find something good to say about 'Land of a Thousand Dances.'

Which is fitting really, since most of the guys on this track actually *sound* drunk as hell.

Sure, things start well enough, with the song's famous 'na-na na na naah,' refrain playing over a jovial bassline, but as soon as various wrestlers start spitting out the lyrics one after the other, it descends into a chaotic, cringe-worthy noise that is actually painful to listen to.

"I'm glad to get away from that," says Mean Gene Okerlund in the 'tween-song commentary that follows each track.

Right, Gene, I couldn't agree with you more.

2: Junkyard Dog - Grab Them Cakes

Thankfully, things pick up when Junkyard Dog takes to the microphone to give us the lead single to come from The Wrestling Album.

Yes, seriously, this thing had *singles*.

Grab Them Cakes, which apparently is some kind of dance, is a fun, funky track which puts an upbeat spin on an obscure little number released in 1981 by Captain chameleon.

I mean, just listen to that - it's suave, sexy, and oh-so-seductive.

JYD's version, however, is more Ghostbusters than pottery-scene-from-Ghost.

I mean seriously, there's something about the way Dog croons the first line "well I started this dance / in my neighbourhood," that makes you 100% certain he's going to shout "WHO YOU GONNA CALL?" as the next line.

He doesn't of course, but that would be awesome.

Interesting fact: The backing vocals here were provided by disco queen Vickie Sue Robinson, who had a big hit in the 70s called 'Turn The Beat Around.'

The post-song commentary sees Vince and Mean Gene raving about how good JYD is ('as good as he can wrestle!' according to Okerlund). Jesse Ventura, naturally, isn't impressed.

Nor was The Body particularly impressed with Derringer, who Vince McMahon told us was a new artist who had written a song dedicated to Mike Rotundo and Barry Windham.

That song was next.

3: Rick Derringer - Real American 

There can't be many themes more iconic than this one.

You hear that low, droning synth, you hear the words 'I am a real American, fight for the rights of every man...'

And you know what's about to go down.

Only, it isn't The US Express.

Of course, everybody knows the story by now, Derringer's Real American was intended for Barry Windham and Rotundo, but then Windham left (he was gone before this album even saw the light of day), and some guy called Hulk Hogan ended up using it instead.

Hogan would go on to become the biggest name in the industry, and this theme, all swaggering guitars, impassioned vocals and spirited synths, would go on to be synonymous with him, the Power of Hulkamania, and in some respects, pro wrestling itself.

Yet there's another reason beyond Hogan's popularity that Real American has stood the test of time - it's a damn good song.

OK, so it's certainly a product of time and would sound out of place if it was written today, but I dare anyone not to listen to it and feel good.

Interesting Fact: Backing vocals here come courtesy of a certain Mona Flambe who was, of course, the alter-ego of Queen of the Rock 'n' Wrestling connection, Cyndi Lauper.

Post-match commentary:

Jesse: "I can't believe that's for Windham and Rotundo. Derringer should have buried himself and stayed buried!"

Vince: "Aw, eat your heart out, Jess!"

Mean Gene: "Oh, speaking of 'eat your heart out,' that just so happens to be the title of our next cut, Jesse Ventura!" (what a remarkable coincidence!")

Jesse: "That's right, Eat Your Heart Out Rick Springfield by The Mouth of The South Jimmy Hart, now there is true talent!"

4: Jimmy Hart - Eat Your Heart Out, Rick Springfield 

So, here we have Jimmy Hart feeling pretty pissed off that his girlfriend had decided to go see a Rick Springfield concert rather than spend time with The Mouth of the South.

The best part?

Jimmy gives us a complete impression of how the conversation went down, which includes saying the words 'Ring ring," to pretend he's the actual telephone.

I'm not making this up. It goes like this:

Jimmy Hart: "Ring ring,"
Jimmy Hart Doing a Woman's voice: "Hello?"
Jimmy Hart: "Hello, hey! Is Cyndi in? (nervous laugh) ha!"
Jimmy Hart Doing a Woman's voice: "No, who is this?"
Jimmy Hart (irate): "What do you mean, who is this? This is Jimmy Hart, The Mouth of the South. Where is she?"
Jimmy Hart Doing a Woman's voice: "She's gone to the Rick Springfield concert!"
Jimmy Hart: "RICK SPRINGFIELD!?!?!"
Jimmy Hart: *makes a sound that I think is supposed to be the line going dead but sounds more like he's mimicking an earthquake or a thunderstorm.

OK, I get it. That could come across as cheesy, but there's something about the way Hart delivers the whole thing that not only works but works in a way that is absolutely hysterical.

Not once have I ever heard this song and not laughed my ass off when he yells "RICK SPRINGFIELD! crunchhhhhhmufflecrunchmufflechhhhh"

It's not all played for laughs though.

Once the song starts proper, The Mouth of the South delivers one of the best songs on the album, a lively pop-rock number that wouldn't sound out of place if it were covered by one of today's guitar pop bands.

The post-song commentary reveals that Jesse Ventura is a big fan of Eat Your Heart Out, Rick Springfield, even going so far as to call it the best song on the album up to this point.

Vince was -unsurprisingly- a little more reserved in his praise of Jimmy Hart, but did admit to looking forward to our next track from Captain Lou Albano.

"Captain Lou!" cries Jesse. "What's he gonna do? Strum the rubber bands on his face!?!"

Don't ask me why, but the first time I heard that, it was spit-your-drink-out funny.

5: Captain Lou Albano (ft. George 'The Animal' Steele) - Captain Lou's History of Music/Captain Lou

So, what we have here is...well, it's a disaster is what it is, but let's break this one down, shall we?

We start with George 'The Animal' Steele looking for Captain Lou as a piece of classical music that I recognise but can't identify plays int he background.

Lou responds, not by saying "Here I am, George," or anything like that, but by launching into a story that begins 'before the beginning of time.'

That's right, BEFORE the beginning of time itself.

Apparently, 'windy wind blew against the rocks,' and made a beat, which led to one of Albano's ancestors being inspired to invent the drums.

This leads us to a whole bunch of noise. I mean a seriously terrible noise that distracts from anything Lou has to say and, not unlike Land of a Thousand Dances, gives you a headache.

This leads us into Lou's version of a song written about him by a group called NRBQ, who apparently did some cross-promotion with the big guy long before The Wrestling Album ever came to be.

The song was produced by Cyndi Lauper, but it's fair to say she sucked at it because the mix is so poor that you can barely hear what Lou is saying over the deafening sound of dreadfulness.
Honestly, this was horrible.

I'd rather listen to 'Do The Mario' and over again for an hour than spend even another minute listening to this.

Jesse Ventura agrees, and in the next bout of commentary tells us that it sounds that Captain Lou was chewing on rubber bands rather than eating them.

As you might expect, Vince and Mean Gene love the song by the babyface, and are very excited about our next track by an unknown group of mysterious musicians known as the WWF All-Stars

6: WWF All-Stars - Hulk Hogan's Theme

Like something straight out of a Rocky movie, Hulk Hogan's theme is everything you could possibly want from a track intended for a larger-than-life good guy hero like the then-WWF Champion.

Pounding drums, intense synths, and a rousing chorus of "Hulk! Hulk! Hulk!" chants all come together in one fiery ball of awesome that really does have 'Hey! It's the '80s!' written all over it.

That's especially true when the dramatic guitar solos kick in, adding a sense of the epic to a track that already sounds as though it should be the soundtrack to some Hollywood montage of Hogan training, saying his prayers, and eating his vitamins.

A highlight of the album in all its chest-thumping, adrenalin-pumping glory, this was later used for the Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n' Wrestling cartoon - or so I'm told, I can't actually find a video to prove it and can't remember it from my childhood.

Vince McMahon liked it too, telling us afterwards that "everybody has to like that one!"

Jesse responds by barfing into the toilet, but quickly picks up when he realises that our next track is by his good friend, Rowdy Roddy Piper.

"Are you ready for this, Gene?" asks Vince, to which Okerlund can only reply by blowing a long, loud raspberry which is both absolutely ridiculous and ashamedly hysterical.

Interesting fact: Hulk Hogan's theme was written and produced by Jim Steinman, he who wrote hits for Meatloaf, Bonnie Tyler, and a bunch of others.

7: Rowdy Roddy Piper - For Everybody 

So, here's a little story:

In the early 1980s, a little-known group called Mike Angelo & The Idols released a song called 'The World May Not Like Me.'

The song became better known by the title 'Fuck Everybody,' thanks to a chorus which basically repeated those two words over and over again.

Whilst Mike Angelo & The Idols wouldn't make much of a mark in the musical world (some of its members had better success playing with former Lynyrd Skynrd guitarist Allen Collins), their profanity-laden ode to nihilism and anti-socialism was chosen to feature on a family-friendly album of songs by a bunch of pro wrestlers.

Of course, some of the lyrics were changed, and the song now became 'For Everybody,' but the song's F-U, 'I Don't Care What You Think of Me,' attitude was the perfect fit for Rowdy Roddy Piper.

Never one to shy away from controversy, the man whose character seemed to spend every day of his life living on the edge was well suited to tackle this number.

Not that the whole thing makes much sense when you think about it logically.

"The world may not like me, but that's OK," sings Piper. "There's only one thing, I've got to say...

For everybody."

Wait, what?

Of course, the way Hot Rod delivers that first 'For Everybody' makes it obvious he was trying to get as close to the original lyrics as he could without getting booted off the album, but it's still a baffling lyric no matter how you look at it."

Just as baffling is the fact that Piper was forced to substitute the word 'ass' for the word 'trash' (so at one point he invites us to 'kiss my trash,) but could mention suicide in a later verse without anyone blinking an eye.

Anyway, the song itself is pretty good, replacing the punky, Clash-lite guitar sound of the original with flamboyant saxophones and a sense of joviality which lies at odds with the lyrics.

Piper's got a hell of a set of vocals too. OK, so he may not be a classically good singer, but his voice certainly works here, as it probably could if Hot Rod had founded a punk band of his own.

Apparently, jazz-pop covers of obscure, profanity-filled songs aren't to Mean Gene's liking. He fell asleep during the song and has to be woken up at the end by Vince McMahon so that he can run down to the studio and give us our next song.

8: Mean Gene Okerlund - Tutti Frutti 

The one cover song on the album that stayed true to the original, Mean Gene Okerlund's version of the rock 'n' roll classic is a super-charged, sugar-coated romp that is both exciting and wildly entertaining.

Sounding for all the world like Little Richard on amphetamines, the song's rousing tsunami of sparkling keys and jubilant basslines serve as the blistering backdrop to a performance that Mean Gene truly throws his heart and soul into.

Not the longest song on the album by any stretch, but, compared to some of what we've heard so far, Tutti Frutti offers quality on an album where quality was never taken into consideration.

Afterwards, Vince and Jesse argued not only over Mean Gene's performance but over the validity of having Hillbilly Jim perform a country song on what was supposed to be a rock 'n' roll album.

9: Hillbilly Jim - Don't Go Messin' With A Country Boy 

We all know this one - it's the song used by both Jim himself and later by The Godwins when they were under his management.

It's everything you'd expect a song by a character called Hillbilly Jim to be - a good ol' rootin, tootin' stomp around the barn that takes every hillbilly, farmer, country music stereotype you can imagine and throws it all together into a track designed to make you clap your hands and stamp your feet.

For the perennial good guy that Hillbilly Jim was, it's the perfect theme tune, even if it does happen to be one of the cheesiest things on The Wrestling Album.

Naturally, Jesse Ventura hated it too, but was more eager to listen to our last track, one performed by a man that Mean Gene informs us 'is on a first name basis with Mikhail Gorbachev.

10: Nikolai Volkoff - Cara Mia 

If you were looking for The Wrestling Album to end on a high note, you'll be very disappointed with this one.

Sounding like Abba colliding with the annoying opera guy from those UK TV commercials from Go Compare, this terrible disco version of David Whitfield's 1954 hit was very much intentionally horrible.

Nikolai Volkoff was known for annoying audiences by singing the Russian national anthem before his matches, and this whole song simply takes that to the next level.

As a gimmick, it's genius, but it's nothing you'd ever, ever want to listen to.

Afterwards, Volkoff does indeed break out the Russian national anthem whilst Vince McMahon complains to Jesse Ventura about it ('this is an American album, Jess, you know what that means!).

Once Volkoff is done, our time with the WWF Superstars ends with The Body suggesting he, McMahon, and Mean Gene do a 'duet,' together.

The good guys make a hasty retreat, leaving Ventura whine like a baby that it's his turn to sing.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the end of The Wrestling Album.

There's some horrible stuff on here, sure, but there's also a surprising amount of good songs on here too. 

Sure, you'd never want to load this up on your iPod and listen to it at the gym, nor would there be any situation when you would invite non-wrestling fans to listen to it, but as a novelty pop record, The Wrestling Album works.

Not only does it work, but it perfectly encapsulates the wild and wacky brand of entertainment that the World Wrestling Federation did so well back in the mid-1980s. 

Thanks for reading. Next time I review anything music-related, it will be a track-by-track review of this album's follow-up, Piledriver: The Wrestling Album II. 

Don't miss this, or any other Retro Pro Wrestling reviews by following @Retropwrestling on Twitter or liking the Facebook page

Wednesday, 3 October 2012



Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, Ontario
January 24, 1988

In the time before the World Wrestling Federation became the pay-per-view juggernaut we know and sometimes love today (albeit as the WWE), the first Royal Rumble event began life as a television special designed, as legend has it, simply to stick it to Jim Crocket Promotions, who were hosting their NWA Bunkhouse Stampede pay per view on the same night.

Whilst the NWA show would fade into eventual obscurity, WWF's January event would, of course, go on to become an annual tradition. Yet the inaugural event was far from flawless and featured the good, the bad, and the incredibly boring.

Here's what went down.


Following a welcome from your commentary team of Vince McMahon and Jesse 'The Body' Ventura (as excellent a pairing here as they ever were) and a rundown of tonight's card, things kick off properly with the one and only Ravishing Rick Rude getting what would go on to be known as "The Jobber Entrance" for tonight's opening contest.

Ravishing Rick Rude vs. Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat.
If Rick Rude wasn't the established star he would go on to become when this match started, he would certainly be one step closer to stardom by the time it concluded.

Both men put gave a valiant effort in this one-on-one encounter, The Ravishing One using strength and brute force to counter The Dragon's speed and agility.

Following an opening tumble, Steamboat accepted Rude's challenge to a test of strength, yet was no match for his muscular foe and was quickly reduced to his knees. Putting his wrestling prowess to good use, Steamboat eventually found a counter and slapped on an armbar.


The story from then on in was a simple-yet-effective one (much aided by an explanation as to the dragon's motives from Ventura on commentary, something sorely lacking from today's announce teams); Steamboat could not outmatch Rude for pure power, so instead concentrated on working over his opponent's arm, taking the strength factor out of the equation.

Using this as the basis, the two Ricks delivered a very enjoyable, solid contest with perhaps more 'arm drag into arm bar' spots from Ricky Steamboat than certainly, this writer has ever seen in a single contest.

The end came as The Dragon looked to finish off his foe with a huge leap from the top rope. The dastardly Rude, however, pulled referee Dave Hebner in harm's way, forcing him to take the blow. Seizing the advantage, Rude applied a submission hold and claimed victory when the official revived himself enough to call for the bell.

All was not as it seemed, however, and in a somewhat obvious move, the match was awarded to Steamboat on grounds of a disqualification.
Your Winner by disqualification: Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat.


What happened next was probably the most boring thing your reviewer has ever seen on any wrestling show ever as Dino Bravo attempted to break a new world record by bench pressing 715lbs. 

Bravo was accompanied by manager Frenchie Martin, who refused to speak English to mic man Gene Okerlund as well as Jesse Ventura, who came to lend a hand as Bravo's spotter.

After warming up by pressing progressively heavier amounts and yelling at the crowd quite a bit, Bravo eventually accomplished his feat, yet only by cheating after Ventura gave him a helping hand.

The whole thing lasted almost 20 minutes (though it felt more like 20 hours) and reached hitherto unforeseen levels of tedium. 

Seriously, this thing was so bad that reflecting back on it during the final match of the show, Vince McMahon himself even claimed 'I thought it was boring.'

WWF Women's Tag Team Championship  2-out-of-3 Falls match
The Glamour Girls defend against The Jumping Bomb Angels

Thankfully, things picked up again with a fun, exciting match in which WWF women's tag team champions Judy Martin and Leilani Kai defended their titles against Japanese exports Noriyo Tateno and Itsuki Yamazaki.

The action in the ring moved at a furious pace for the time, The Jumping Bomb Angels using quickness, aerial assaults, and a whole arsenal of moves that had barely been introduced to US audiences before as The Glamour Girls counted by basically beating the crap out of the challengers.

Perhaps the most curious part of this whole match was McMahon, who claimed he had no idea as to the names of the Jumping Bomb Angels, instead referring to them throughout the contest as 'Pink Angel' and 'Red Angel' according to their attire.

Perhaps this was an attempt to add a bit of mystique to the ladies from the Orient, or perhaps Vinny Mac genuinely didn't know or care, which just seems odd.

What also seems fairly odd is that the belts were constantly referenced to as the WWF Women's titles, yet any and all on-screen text surrounding this match named them the WWF Ladies titles. True, this is a small quibble, yet still, a bit of consistency would have been nice.

At any rate, Pink Angel and Red Angel won the match by two falls to one to capture the gold in a thrilling contest that really put modern-day women's wrestling to shame.
Your Winners and new WWF Women's Tag Team Champions: The Jumping Bomb Angels

A pattern was beginning to emerge here; a great match followed by a boring angle. Following the ladies' battle, it was the turn of WWF Champion Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant to send everybody to sleep.

Hulk and Andre sign the contract for their upcoming match


The background to this segment should be fairly well-known by any long-time wrestling fan, yet here it is again anyway:

At Wrestlemania III, Hogan defeated The Giant in their now legendary showdown, yet early on in the match, Andre was convinced he'd scored a pinfall when he fell on top of the champion following a failed bodyslam attempt.

Enraged, Andre would claim to anyone who would listen that he'd defeated Hogan, and was out for revenge.

Meanwhile, Ted Dibiase had attempted to purchase the WWF title from The Hulkster. Declaring that he (and the Hulkamaniacs at large) didn't have a price for The Million Dollar Man, the champ declined the offer, leading to Dibiase's hiring of Andre to defeat Hogan, win the belt and deliver it to him.

So far, so good, right?

And then this happened.

With the heels (Andre, flanked by Dibiase and his lackey, Virgil) already in the ring along with Mean Gene Okerlund and WWF President Jack Tunney, Hogan made his way to the ring and riled the crowd before taking his seat at the contract-signing table.

Andre, meanwhile, simply rocked back and forth against the ropes with a look upon his enormous face which flirted between apathy and cockiness (though which the announcers assured us was a look of disdain).

He did this forever.

OK, maybe that's a lie, but he genuinely did nothing for a very long time.

And sure, it made sense, the longer Andre did nothing, the more the crowd would hate him and want to see The Hulkster kick his ass, but look:

There's doing nothing to get a reaction, and then there's doing nothing for so long that things start to get very dull, very quickly.

Eventually, after much goading from Mean Gene, Andre sat down to sign, and this segment finally ended the way all wrestling contract signings do; somebody got beat up.

In this case, Andre slammed Hogan's head into the table, then pushed him on his ass.

As segments go, this was a poor one.

The Royal Rumble Match
20 Man Battle Royal featuring The Hart Foundation, Tito Santana, 'The Natural' Butch Reed, Jake 'The Snake' Roberts, Sam Houston, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, The Ultimate Warrior, One Man Gang and more.


And so it was that Bret Hart and Tito Santana became the first ever participants in a Royal Rumble match, squaring off with some fairly enjoyable action until Butch Reed and Jim Neidhart entered at #3 and #4 respectively to help out 'The Hitman'.

Jake 'The Snake' Roberts eventually hit the ring to even things, making the first ever Rumble elimination when he tossed Reed over the top rope.

From there, things generated into your typical battle royal. The ring began to fill with bodies, each one vying for victory, pounding on one another and making attempts at eliminations.

All things considered, this was a decent battle royal event with enough action to keep things entertaining throughout. There's certainly been far worse battle royals in the history of wrestling, and this one is at least worth a look.


In the end, Hacksaw Jim Duggan ducked a charging One Man Gang and pulled the top rope down, causing the future Akeem to topple to the outside, giving the match to Duggan.
Your Winner: Hacksaw Jim Duggan

The show continued with more Hulk Hogan, this time giving an interview to short-lived WWF interviewer Craig DeGeorge in which he claimed that if Andre wanted to beat him in their rematch that coming February, he would have to defeat 'Each and every Hulkamaniac' which, of course, Hogan didn't think his rival was capable of.

With time still to kill, it was down to the final match of the night.

2-out-of-3 Falls Match:
The Islanders (Haku & Tama) vs. The Young Stallions (Paul Roma and Jim Powers) 

In all honesty, the career of Islander Tama somehow passed me by, which is a shame since he was the most enjoyable thing in this lengthy contest, displaying an in-ring talent and natural charisma which should have surely earned him a more memorable career.

It was Tama, brother of Umaga and Rikishi, who shone in the early moments of the match as both teams traded the advantage until those evil Islanders (at the time engaged in a feud with the British Bulldogs over the kidnapping of the Brit's mascot Matilda), sent Roma crashing to the outside, injuring the Stallion's knee. Unable to meet the referee's count, Roma lost the first fall for his team via count-out.

Selling the injury, Roma was taken to the back to be checked over. As The Islanders waited in the ring, time was killed thanks to a promo from Ted Dibiase and Andre the Giant.

The match resumed with Powers picking up the slack on behalf of his injured comrade. Haku and Tama spent the bulk of the second half beating down on Powers before Roma eventually grabbed the hot tag, only to be just as destroyed and eventually succumbing to a pinfall after Tama leaped off the top onto his foe's injured leg.
Your Winners: The Islanders

So that was that then, the first ever Royal Rumble event in the history books. A far cry from the pomp and spectacle we've come to expect from today's pay-per-view spectacles, this was a mixed bag as far as quality is concerned. Great matches in Steamboat vs. Rude and Glamour Girls vs. Jumping Bomb Angels and an entertaining Royal Rumble match make this show worth watching.
That said, the contract signing was poor, the bench press record was by far the dullest thing ever filmed at a wrestling event, and the tag team main event, though at least decent, was a strange choice to end the show on.

Thankfully, things would only get better for this event as the years wore on.

Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.