WWE – Unreleased: Never Before Seen Matches (DISC ONE)
WWE – Unreleased: Never Before Seen Matches
I haven’t completed a DVD recap in a while and this one looked pretty interesting, so I thought I would give it a shot. Heck, I haven’t purchased a WWE DVD in forever, so you know this had to have peaked my interest on some level.
AT FIRST GLANCE: Disc one covers the 1980s portion of the set and creeps into 1990 a little bit. Some of the tag matches could be interesting. On disc one, I’m most interested in the handicap match between Hogan and Savage against the Hart Foundation and the Honky Tonk Man. I think that could possibly be a hidden gem. The Powers of Pain against the Rockers could be promising as well. While this doesn’t surprise me that it’s part of the set because it’s WWE, I’m scratching my head over why they would think we would want to sit through Andre the Giant and Big John Studd — in 1989. Nevertheless, let’s get at it.
As soon as I put the disc into my DVD player, this chick named Charly Caruso appears on the screen and tells me that she was at the event center and that *she* has picked out some hidden gems for us to watch. And why exactly should I trust your judgment? I don’t know you. She could be all over WWE right now and I honestly would have no idea. A simple Google search tells me she’s an interviewer for WWE now. Okay then. Anyways, she says she was “unknowingly helped” by someone on her mission who we will apparently find out later. Now she’s giving us instructions on how DVDs work. Good grief.
Seeing Is Believing: We take a look at boxes upon boxes upon boxes of tapes sitting in a warehouse somewhere. It’s really every wrestling nerd’s dream that this place exists.
The Assignment: Sean Mooney is apparently her helper for this “hidden gems” project. He explains to the kiddos out there that a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, wrestling was filmed on what historians refer to as VIDEO TAPE. Mooney helps introduce the first match and explains were to Caruso just what the heck the Japanese Machines.
- Big John Studd, King Kong Bundy & Bobby Heenan vs. Big Machine, Super Machine & Hulk Machine – (9/16/86 – Baltimore, MD)
Hulk, Big, and Super run wild on the Heenan fam to start, brother. In case you don’t know, Big Machine is Blackjack Mulligan while Super Machine is Bill Eadie. Super Machine fights out of the Heenan fam corner and clotheslines Studd THREE TIMES to finally knock him down. Bundy misses a knee drop on Big Machine and nearly gets his balls stomped. In comes Hulk to battle Bundy. Hulk Machine starts slamming everybody but Bobby Heenan because he’s got the brains. Hulk tags in Big Machine to slam Studd. I guess that’s not as big a deal anymore. Studd tries to slam him back, but doesn’t have the power. Super Machine plays machine-in-peril for a few minutes and gets his back worked over with bearhugs and the like. Bundy delivers the ATLANTIC CITY AVALANCHE to Super Machine and wants Heenan to get the pin. There was no tag though causing the Hebner ref to get Heenan out of the ring. Meanwhile, Hulk switches with the Super Machine and we’re supposed to believe Heenan thinks nothing fishy has occurred. Super Machine has pasty skin and dark hair while Hulk has blonde Chinese hair and skin of a hotdog. Heenan does the ethical thing and legally tags Bundy before getting into the ring now. Of course, now he’s about to face his certain demise as Hulk reverses a whip on him and delivers the Big Boot for the easy three-count. (9:09) Hogan peaks out from under the hood for that one guy in the audience who still has no clue. Pretty high energy when you consider the slugs in this one. Hulk was COKED UP, brother. **¼
- Randy Savage (w/Elizabeth) vs. Pedro Morales – (10/28/86 – Binghamton, NY)
If the date listed is actually correct, this is a dark match from the same WWF Superstars taping where Savage crushed Steamboat’s throat against the guardrail. Randy plays Memphis heel to start and stalls around yelling at fans. Pedro bounces his head off the guardrail to get his attention. Savage takes a shoulderblock in the ring and rolls to the floor to sell. Back in, Macho reaches in his tights and the crowd is all over him. Savage then goes after the arm, but Pedro counters and Savage rolls out to catch a breather. He yells at Liz to stay at his corner. Back inside, Savage gets his foreign object out of his tights (which was probably nothing) and rubs it in Pedro’s eyes. He rubs a bouquet of flowers in Pedro’s eyes too. Morales fights back with the flowers. Those can be very abrasive to the skin. The ref checks Savage’s hands to make sure he’s not cheating. Next thing we know, Savage throws Morales clear over the top to the floor. Savage comes off the top with the double sledge. Back in, Morales catches Savage in the gut coming off the top. Pedro punches Savage out to the floor for some ringside violence. Back in again, Morales punches Savage in the corner only to get rolled up in the corner Ric Flair-style and get the cheap pin. (8:26) Not a lot here, but cool to see Savage bringing that Memphis flavor to the WWF. *½
- Hulk Hogan & Roddy Piper vs. Paul Orndorff & Harley Race (w/Bobby Heenan) – (12/9/86 – Phoenix, AZ)
Hogan and Piper are teaming up here, but they aren’t exactly BFFs. Hulk’s left eye looks a little beaten up. After they clean house on the heels, Hogan and Piper lock eyes and share some words. Orndorff bum rushes the show and gets a thumb in the throat. Now Orndorff and Race get whipped into Hogan’s boot in the corner. Race gets his arm twisted and slammed. I mean, Hogan and Piper pretty much tear his arm up. Roddy gets cornered on the wrong side of town. While Orndorff chokes him with the tag rope, Race is headbutting him. Piper continues to get worked over until Race misses a flying headbutt. HOT TAG TO HOGAN! PUNCHES EVERYWHERE! DOUBLE NOGGIN KNOCKER! Hogan hits the Big Boot and covers Race, but Piper has the ref’s attention. Once Piper is on the apron, Hogan grabs Race for a slam and delivers the LEGDROP. With everybody including Heenan in the ring brawling, the Hebner calls for the bell and DQ’s the Heenan fam. (6:32) Once Orndorff and Race are punched out of the ring, Heenan takes the bump over the turnbuckle out to the floor. VINTAGE BOBBY! After all the posing, Hulk and Roddy shake hands. Hot match, but too short to really mean anything. **
- Dingo Warrior vs. Jose Estrada – (6/23/87 – Indianapolis, IN)
This is from the first week of Warrior in the WWF. Seeing how green he is here, it’s amazing to think he was a champion in World Class before coming to the WWF. After stumbling through this one, Estrada realizes there’s not really a lot he can do with this guy and they go to the finish, which looked like a double-KO, but Warrior rolls over and covers him for the pin. (5:54) That was rough. ¼*
The Handshake: We go back to Charly Caruso and Sean Mooney to explain who the Mega Powers. Mooney wants the handshake, but Charly leaves him hanging.
- Hulk Hogan & Randy Savage (w/Elizabeth) vs. The Hart Foundation & Honky Tonk Man (w/Jimmy Hart & Peggy Sue) – (1/5/88 – Huntsville, AL)
We’re JIP here. Hogan and Savage work on Neidhart’s arm for a while. Savage gets slammed to turn the tide. Honky Tonk tags in and eats an elbow. Tag to Bret, both Savage and Hogan deliver a DOUBLE BIG BOOT. Hogan hits his signature series of elbow drops. Back to Savage, Bret sets him up for a nasty running clothesline. The Hart Foundation and HTM return to working the back. Savage mounts a comeback, but takes a bump in the corner charging after Honky Tonk. It’s not too much longer before Honky Tonk misses a fist drop and Savage reaches Hogan for the hot tag. He goes SLAM CRAZY and hits Honky Tonk with the LEGDROP for the win. (5:40 shown) Jimmy Hart gets grabbed and takes a DOUBLE ATOMIC DROP that sends him flying over the top rope from the Mega Powers. I’m beginning to see a trend here. Afterwards, Savage and Hogan do a super dee duper pose down. **
- Owen Hart vs. Barry Horowitz – (3/8/88 – Bristol, TN)
This is the first recorded match for Owen in the WWF. He wows the crowd with his pretty flips and his blonde hair. He even busts out a CRAZY tope suicida! I can’t imagine anyone in Bristol had seen that before. The fancy flying body press doesn’t do get the pin, but the Belly to Belly Suplex and the Flying Headbutt (from corner to corner!) will as Owen picks up the win. (5:42) This had to be the most amazing and most athletic thing people had seen in the WWF back then. And only the people in Bristol got to see it – until now. **½
- WWF Championship: Randy Savage (c) (w/Elizabeth) vs. Andre the Giant (w/Bobby Heenan) – (4/21/88 – New Haven, CT)
Savage is very concerned about Heenan going after Liz to start. After Andre gets his paws on the WWF champ, it looks to be curtains pretty quickly for Savage. However, once Andre eyes Elizabeth, Savage runs at him with a chair and that’s all she wrote as Andre wins via DQ. (3:16) And that’s that. ½*
- Demolition (w/Mr. Fuji) vs. The Powers of Pain (w/Tito Santana) – (6/21/88 – Glens Falls, NY)
What will happen when TWO TEAMS cloned from the Road Warriors collide? Lots of clubbering, Tony. The Powers of Pain are *very* new to the WWF, but the crowd really seems into Barbarian and Warlord. The Demos seem ill prepared as the POP just shine for the whole match. Eventually, Demolition lives to fight another day as they walk out on the Powers of Pain after 6:22. *½
WrestleMania V Fallout: Sean Mooney and Charly Caruso get excited for this next match. WHY?
- Big John Studd vs. Andre the Giant (w/Bobby Heenan) – (4/4/89 – Glens Falls, NY)
Another one from Glens Falls. Look how everything has been inverted since the first WrestleMania. They take turns beating on each other, but it’s Andre who grabs hold of Studd. While he’s got Studd in the corner, Studd raises a knee to block the shoulder butt. That really knocks Andre loopy. Studd starts punching Andre’s belly. When Studd goes for the slam, Heenan jumps Studd and gets Andre DQ’ed. (4:30) Nothing to get excited about, CHARLY. ½*
- Ultimate Warrior vs. Randy Savage (w/Sensational Sherri) – (4/4/89 – Glens Falls, NY)
This is two days after both guys lost their respective championships at WrestleMania V. Savage jumps Warrior at the bell, but Warrior knocks him to the floor with a jumping shoulderblock. Back in, Savage leaps off the top for a flying body press, but Warrior CATCHES him and places him into the tree of woe for some kicks. Warrior misses a corner charge and takes a running knee that sends him flying out to the floor. Savage lowers the boom on him and brings him back inside to deliver the Running Neck Snap. Warrior escapes out of a chinlock and finds a bearhug until Savage rakes the eyes. Savage lands the Flying Double Sledge for two. As Warrior starts to come back, Rick Rude walks down to ringside to gloat about winning the IC title. Warrior doesn’t seem to really notice him though. He delivers an atomic drop for a two-count. Savage rolls him up for another nearfall. Warrior tries the GUERILLA SPLASH, but hits knees. He immediately WARRIORS UP though and suddenly notices Rude out of the corner of his eye and beats him up back to the dressing room to get counted out. (8:18) Well hey, Savage was the only guy in wrestling that could get Warrior to a real MOTYC. Next thing we know, Warrior is back in the ring and has *stolen* the IC belt from Rude as he swings it wildly around like he would have done just three days earlier after a victory. **½
- Dusty Rhodes vs. Ted DiBiase (w/Virgil) – (6/6/89 – Madison, WI)
DiBiase offers Dusty some money to leave the ring, but Dusty won’t take any money from that guy. He blasts him with an elbow and gives the money out to the people. IT’S REAL MONEY! OMG! Anyways, this is another very early appearance for Dusty in the WWF. No polka dots yet. Dusty DOMINATES and holds the crowd in the palm of his hand here. Virgil ends up tripping Dusty to distract him as DiBiase lowers the boom on him. Back inside, DiBiase hammers him down and delivers the Fist Drops for two. Dusty puts the brakes on a turnbuckle smash and elbows back, but DiBiase kicks at the knee and applies a chinlock. Dusty fights out and catches DiBiase in the gut coming off the second rope. He heads over to the corner for the ten-count punch. DiBiase takes a bump from a back elbow that sends him out to the floor. As Dusty tries to slam DiBiase back inside the ring from the apron, Virgil grabs hold of Dusty’s leg and DiBiase falls on top for the three-count. (10:23) Looks like Virgil should have held down Dusty’s foot there, but whatevs. This was all about proving to the boys that Dusty would put you over. Of course at the end though, he cleans house and stands tall so who really *won* that one? **
- Hillbilly Jim & King Duggan vs. Andre the Giant & Haku (w/Bobby Heenan) – (7/19/89 – Utica, NY)
That’s right — Duggan won the king’s crown from Haku back in May on Superstars. This match is taking forever to get going. Andre chokes on Duggan while Hillbilly Jim is choking Haku for some reason. YOU’RE A BABYFACE, YOU JERK! Anyways, Duggan is stuck in the corner of the Colossal Connection for a while. When he comes back, Duggan gives Andre and Haku the DOUBLE NOGGIN KNOCKER. Since Haku has a much thicker skull than Andre because racial genetics is so totally a real thing (NOT), Andre takes the hit harder than Haku and falls on top of him. Okay, that’s actually pretty funny. Hillbilly Jim becomes *your* hillbilly-in-peril for a moment. He can’t really work that well. Anyways, Duggan tags back in and has an awful back and forth with Haku. Hillbilly Jim tags back in and splashes Haku. That brings in Andre to grab Hillbilly Jim for a headbutt. Andre holds him for a superkick from Haku, which of course misses. That completely takes out Andre. Tag to Duggan, he wipes out Haku with TWO of his Three Point Stance Clotheslines and that wins the match. (9:21) Seriously, who booked this match and thought it was a good idea? *
Tryouts: Back to our “investigators”, Charly finds Sean Mooney’s audition tape. Mooney laughs at it, but I didn’t see how it was anything different than normal Sean Mooney. Speaking of auditions, we take a look at auditions of the future Crush and Earthquake in separate matches.
- Brian Adams vs. Barry Horowitz – (8/9/89 – Fresno, CA)
This had to be the biggest crowd Adams had wrestled in front of at this point in his career. Although he had done a few tours of Japan, he mainly wrestled in what was left of Portland Wrestling. Adams was a big boy and he could move pretty well for his size. He hits a nice Tombstone Piledriver for the win in 5:26. Considering how piss poor his piledrivers were, that tombstone variety wasn’t bad at all. Adams wouldn’t get hired here, but would debut in the WWF as Demolition Crush in June of 1990.
- Earthquake Evans (w/Slick) vs. Paul Roma – (9/20/89 – Louisville, KY)
Earthquake is wearing a plaid shirt and jeans. I’m only assuming they had a lumberjack gimmick in mind for him. The guy could really move for his size – no doubt about it. Roma wipes out trying a flying body press and Earthquake puts him away with an elbow drop at 6:36. Of course, Earthquake would get a different gimmick and managed by Jimmy Hart once he was on TV in November.
- The Powers of Pain (w/Mr. Fuji) vs. The Rockers – (1/22/90 – Miami, FL)
Shawn can’t hang with Barbarian to start. When he gets caught trying a crossbody block, Marty helps him out with a flying body press to knock over Barbarian. With both guys in the ring, they start dishing out STEREO SUPERKICKS~! That sends the Powers of Pain running. Back inside, Warlord overpowers Marty and works the back. He lands a couple of HUUUUGE backdrops that sends Jannetty into the lights. After Barb whips Jannetty from corner to corner, he throws him to the floor to be beaten by Fuji’s cane and thrown into the ringpost. Back in, Barbarian turns Jannetty inside out with a clothesline for two. Warlord punches on Jannetty, but Jannetty won’t stop punching him back for some reason. It’s a losing battle, son. He gets out of a bearhug from Barbarian and tries coming off the second rope, but Barbarian catches him in mid-air for a powerslam. That’s so Barbarian. He misses a flying elbow allowing Jannetty to make the hot tag to Michaels. After the ten-count punch on Barb, Shawn tries a sunset flip on Warlord and Marty helps clothesline the big man down for a hot nearfall. After STEREO TEN-COUNT CORNER PUNCHES, Jannetty gets whipped into Barbarian by mistake. As Shawn comes off the ropes though, Fuji grabs his foot and trips him for the really cheap DQ. (7:57) After the bell, Shawn takes a pretty nasty bump out of the ring onto the guardrail. That leaves Marty to really take a beating from the Powers of Pain — including taking the finish. Of all people, HULK HOGAN comes out armed with a steel chair and saves the day for the Rockers to a massive response. This has got to be the best match on the first disc, but I wouldn’t call it a “hidden gem”. It’s not like the Rockers couldn’t have had this match with anybody else this size in 1990. Still, it’s a good match and I like it. ***
- WWF Tag Team Championship: Andre the Giant & Haku (c) (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. Demolition – (1/23/90 – Ft. Myers, FL)
Good grief — *another* Andre match from the worst part of his career. WWE probably thinks they are paying tribute, but all kids coming up these days are seeing is this giant man who can hardly walk and have no idea what he was before the WrestleMania era. It’s actually doing his memory more of a disservice than they seem to realize. Lots of clubbering on Haku to start. The Demos twist on Haku’s neck and switch without tagging to make the crowd giggle. Haku fights back with crescent kicks and tags in Andre to step on Smash. He fails to sit on Smash though and Demolition starts pummeling the old guy. Ax becomes face in peril though, but avoids a corner splash from Haku. Andre cuts off the tag, but Ax catches Haku with a back elbow as he’s charging him in the corner. Hot tag to Smash, the match breaks down. After the Demos dump out Haku, they grab the WWF tag belts and start wailing away on Andre for the DQ. (8:19) This was as good as the WrestleMania 6 match. No better, no worse in my opinion. ¾*
- WWF Intercontinental Championship: Ultimate Warrior (c) vs. Randy Savage (w/Queen Sherri) – (1/23/90 – Ft. Myers, FL)
Wow. This is HARD CAMERA ONLY. Warrior does the bit where he catches Savage in mid-air trying a flying body press and puts him in the tree of woe for some kicking. Savage just can’t seem to get anything going. Even after Sherri grabs Warrior’s ankle, Savage charges him and goes flying over the top rope to the floor. Back in, Warrior tries the Guerilla Splash, but hits knees. Sherri gets her claws in on Warrior. To the floor, Savage wallops Warrior (as much as he can be walloped) with the Flying Double Sledge. Back inside, that gets two. Warrior catches Savage with the Jumping Shoulderblock and appears to have hurt himself because Savage comes off the top with the MACHO ELBOW for 1-2-NO! Another Flying Double Sledge connects, but only gets two. TIME TO WARRIOR UP! Clotheslines are everywhere. Savage is tied up in the ropes, but Sherri helps him loose causing Warrior to go flying over the top rope. Macho tries another Flying Double Sledge to the floor, but this time Warrior moves and he eats the guardrail. Sherri gets Warrior’s attention to bring him off Savage, but ends up drawing him into the ring so that Warrior wins by countout. (7:19) After the bell, Savage wanders back into the ring and gets pulled in for a DOUBLE NOGGIN KNOCKER with Sherri. Once that’s over, Warrior sends Macho on the run with the GUERRILLA PRESS SLAM and that’s all she wrote. *½
Final Thoughts on Disc One: Well, some of these matches probably should have been unreleased if you ask me. Lots of big names on this disc – no doubt – however, not a lot of good matches. By the way, there’s also zero commentary for these matches, so if that’s a must for you, this may not be the set for you at all. I was actually a little disappointed that they didn’t put somebody to work to add commentary because I think if you’re like me it’s a big turn off watching matches on your TV without commentary. Even if it’s one of these new guys or gals that I don’t know. If you have some sentimental attachment to the characters of this era, imagine how cool it would be to do commentary for those matches. I would be down for sure. Right now, I’m leaning towards a thumbs down, but there are two more discs and some more interesting matches to come that could sway me back towards a positive final word on the first “Unreleased: Never Before Seen Matches from 1986-1995.”
Posted on September 16, 2017, in WWE and tagged Andre the Giant, Barry Horowitz, Big John Studd, Big Machine, Bobby Heenan, Brian Adams, Demolition, Dusty Rhodes, Earthquake, Elizabeth, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Haku, Harley Race, Hart Foundation, Hillbilly Jim, Honky Tonk Man, Hulk Hogan, Jimmy Hart, Jose Estrada, King Kong Bundy, Mr. Fuji, Owen Hart, Paul Orndorff, Paul Roma, Pedro Morales, Peggy Sue, Powers of Pain, Randy Savage, Rockers, Roddy Piper, Sherri Martel, Slick, Super Machine, Ted DiBiase, Tito Santana, Ultimate Warrior, Virgil. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.