WWE Vintage Collection Report (03/06/11)

WWE Vintage Collection Report: March 6th 2011
By Shaun Best-Rajah.com Reporter
Hosted by: Mean Gene Okerlund

This week memorable Tag Teams are the focus of the show. Yes Tag Teams, once a staple of the WWF, now shockingly an afterthought in the WWE. Teams under the microscope include the Rockers, Demolition and the Rock ‘n’ Sock Connection.

We begin with a young Jim Cornette talking a mile a minute to announcer Tony Schiavone (complete with porn star moustache) on the April 4th 1987 edition of World Championship Wrestling, which was still under the NWA banner and Jim Crockett Promotions. Flanked by bodyguard Big Bubba Rogers, (the future Big Boss Man) Cornette, under orders from his mother and financial backer talks about making the weak link in the Midnight Express strong once again. (Original member Dennis Condrey had left the promotion). Ahead of the $1,000,000 U.S Tag Title tournament, Cornette unveils the New Midnight Express – “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton and “Sweet” Stan Lane.

May 16th 1987: NWA U.S Tag Team Title Tournament Final
The New Midnight Express w/Jim Cornette vs Barry Windham & Ronnie Garvin
We join the match just before the 15 minute mark. Eaton gives Garvin the Alabama Jam (top rope legdrop). Garvin gets slapped around a little then rolls free to tag out. A fired up Windham gives Eaton a superplex, but jars his knee after leaping from the top rope. Lane scores with crescent kicks and a camel clutch. The Express cut Windham off, utilising quick tags and double team maneuvers. After Eaton scores with a flying backelbow from the top rope, he goes high risk once too often as Windham rolls clear. As soon as Garvin tags in, Cornette hits Windham with his trusty tennis racket. Windham recovers to wipe Eaton out with a lariat, before throwing referee Teddy Long out of the ring. Windham and Lane inadvertently take racket shots. Garvin chases Cornette around the ring into Windham’s path and Cornette is promptly put to sleep. Lane gives Garvin a chair shot across the back, throws Long in and he counts the 1-2-3 for Eaton. Windham doesn’t see any of this and tries to pin Lane, but Long awards the bout to the Express, who begin the first of their three title reigns. Winners: THE NEW MIDNIGHT EXPRESS.

October 24th 1988: WWF Tag Team Titles
Demolition w/Mr Fuji vs The Rockers
This match is taking place at a House Show inside Madison Square Garden. The Rockers start off quick, taking Smash down after several dropkicks. The Rockers utilise fast tags to work over the arms of both Ax and Smash. Ax halts the momentum with a headbutt to Jannetty. Demolition cut Jannetty off until he staggers Smash with a flying backelbow. Michaels goes after both opponents. Smash reverses him off the ropes and Ax pulls down the top rope sending Michaels to the floor.

Michaels fights out of a couple of bearhugs, punts Smash to thwart a backbodydrop and tags out. The Rockers combine to whip Demolition into each other, before going double team crazy. Fuji gets knocked off the apron. Jannetty leaps off his partner’s shoulders with a splash to Smash. Ax breaks up a pin to disappoint the crowd, who thought the titles were about to change hands. As Michaels is cleared from the ring, Smash catches Jannetty in a bearhug, bringing him over for Ax to wallop with a clothesline. Smash covers and Demolition retain. This was a by-the-numbers tag match that the crowd were into, but Demolition didn’t seem too thrilled at selling for the Rockers. Winners: DEMOLITION.

An edited version of The Rock’s “This is your life/Birthday celebration” airs from the September 27th 1999 edition of Raw. The ceremony was organised by Mankind to try and convince the Rock to team with him. On a sidenote, this remains the highest rated segment in Raw history.

After balloons and confetti are released from the ceiling, Rock lays a verbal smackdown on all of Mankind’s guests from Rock’s past, chastising former Home Economics teacher Mrs Griffith for not letting him make pancakes, then former girlfriend Joanne Imbriani for cutting him off on 2nd base. A third exchange with Rock’s former P.E coach is edited off.

Undeterred, Mankind brings out the “People’s Presents,” but Rock looks on bemused as Mankind unwraps a Rock ‘n’ Sock dress shirt, and Mr Rocko sock to go along with Mr Socko. Finally, Mankind unveils Yurpel the clown who starts a birthday singalong, as a black and white Brahma Bull cake is wheeled out. Rock says he’s appreciative to his fans, then tells Mankind his birthday’s May 2nd. This was great TV. Mick Foley and the Rock always had great chemistry together. Triple H would interrupt the celebration with a sledgehammer attack, but that’s edited out.

Raw – August 30th 1999: WWF Tag Team Titles
Undertaker & Big Show vs The Rock ‘n’ Sock Connection
Big Show is double teamed until he catches Mankind with a sidewalk slam. Undertaker drags Mankind out of the ring to throw him into the steps. Back inside, Rock breaks up a pin after a Big Show powerslam.

Undertaker stays on the outside to send Mankind over the barricade. Show slams Mankind onto an already broken announce table. Paul Bearer comes out to show Undertaker something in his jacket and both mysteriously take off to the back. Mankind gives Show a low blow. Rock lays the smack down until Show takes out both with a flying clothesline. Rock takes a chokeslam. Show kicks a chair into Mankind’s face. Show misses an elbow drop on the Rock. Mankind applies Mr Socko, but Show quickly shoves him into referee Earl Hebner. Rock blasts Show with a dangerous looking chair shot to the head. A double People’s Elbow connects, Rock gets the pin, and the Rock ‘n’ Sock connection are the new Tag Team Champions! Winners: THE ROCK ‘N’ SOCK CONNECTION.

If the WWE can go to this much effort to highlight past duos, I’m baffled as to why zero effort is being made to improve the tag ranks in today’s product. All of the teams featured today drew money, lots of it. Having grown up watching the plethora of teams on show in the 80’s and witnessing the late 90’s early 00’s renaissance, it’s just a shame that newer fans, especially the younger ones of the current “WWE Universe” are missing out on an exciting dimension of the business.

See you next week!

Any comments or discussion points drop me a line at shaunmb1@hotmail.com.