WWE Vintage Collection Report: April 17th 2011
By Shaun Best-Rajah.com Reporter
Hosted by: Mean Gene Okerlund
Welcome aboard. Our random selection of WrestleMania revenge segments continue this week with Crush, the Rockers and Randy Savage the main areas of focus.
WrestleMania VII: March 24th 1991
Demolition w/Mr Fuji vs Genichiro Tenryu & Koji Kitao
Crush had just replaced the Axed Bill Eadie in Demolition and was making his WrestleMania debut. Okerlund refers to the opposition as “unproved Japanese stars.” Bit disrespectful given Tenryu’s standing with All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) and Super World of Sports (SWS) at the time. Demolition jump their opponents and work over Kitao. Bobby Heenan voices his approval on commentary when Fuji delivers a cane shot “to his own countryman,” then continues to poke fun at Kitao’s name. Kitao clotheslines Smash to make the hot tag. Tenryu dishes out his trademark chops. Smash avoids a blind dive from the top rope. Demolition set Tenryu up for their Decapitation finisher. Kitao runs in to break it up, then shoves Crush from the top rope. Tenryu gives Smash an enziguiri. Smash manages to duck a Kitao clothesline, but Tenryu catches him with a powerbomb for the 1-2-3. Sayonara Demolition! This was their last outing on the main stage. They were never the same after Ax was released due to health problems. Winners: TENRYU & KITAO. In a match with Earthquake just a few weeks later, Kitao went into business for himself and told the audience over the microphone that wrestling was fake. Unsurprisingly, Kitao was fired from the SWS. What a noodle!
Crush would disappear for a year then re-emerge as Kona Crush. The 6”7, 320lb Hawaiian cuts an early promo in his new look of neon purple and yellow ring gear and long bleached blond hair. Feuding with Doink the Clown, Doink warns Crush about seeing double vision at WrestleMania IX. This comes true when a second Doink (played by Steve Keirn aka Skinner) aids Doink in bashing Crush with a prosthetic arm in order to get the win and hand Crush his 2nd WrestleMania loss.
WWF European Rampage: Paris, France:
April 8th 1993: Crush vs Doink The Clown
This match, four days following WrestleMania has already been featured on Vintage Collection before. It was shown on the December 14th 2008 episode as part of a European Tour theme. Quite sloppy considering the hours of footage WWE has available in the vault. Crush prevents a sneak attack, using his strength to dominate the opening minutes. Crush utilises a figure four headscissors and bearhug into a belly-to-belly, but comes unstuck, missing a top rope dive and jarring his knee. Doink goes to work on the leg, using the ringpost and corner to his advantage. Doink makes the same mistake as Crush by going high risk and jumping into Crush’s (good) leg. Crush gives Doink a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker then boots him over the top rope. Crush pulls Doink onto the apron to apply the Cranium Crusher (head vice). Crush has to break as Doink is not inside the ring. Doink decides to leave and is counted out. Crush gives chase after the bell. Steve Keirn was under the Doink makeup here filling in for original Doink Matt Borne. Winner via countout: CRUSH.
Madison Square Garden: April 22nd 1991
The Rockers & Virgil vs The Orient Express & Mr Fuji
The Rockers had tasted defeat to the Express one year prior at WrestleMania VI, while Virgil had just beaten his former boss Ted DiBiase at WrestleMania VII. This match originally aired on the May 6th edition of Prime Time Wrestling. Michaels doesn’t take kindly to a Tanaka slap and shoves him down. Michaels eats a superkick, but retaliates with a clothesline. Rockers catch the Express with stereo atomic drops. Virgil runs in to deliver a double clothesline. Virgil messes up on a couple of exchanges with Kato. Fuji shows off his martial arts skills. Virgil retaliates with boxing jabs. Kato baits Virgil to the floor, but ends up getting surrounded and attacked by the Rockers. Jannetty disposes of Tanaka a couple of times, Michaels bangs the Express’s heads together and Kato receives a double elbow. Michaels has things in hand until Tanaka kicks him in the back. Kato quickly follows up with a backbreaker and Fuji contributes with a falling headbutt.
The Express work over Michaels’s back with a couple of camel clutches and a leapfrog/spike combo. Michaels uses a double clothesline to escape. Jannetty takes the fight to everyone. Kato breaks up a pin after Tanaka takes a powerslam. Michaels throws Kato out. Tanaka eats a double superkick. Virgil gets elevated for a clothesline before he puts Tanaka to sleep with the Million Dollar Dream. Rockers did all the hard work and Virgil took the glory. Virgil was still very green and building his in-ring confidence. Combine this with blown spots by the Express and the usual top notch tag match we’re used to seeing between these two tandems suffers. Winners: THE ROCKERS & VIRGIL.
After Randy Savage lost a career ending match to the Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania VII, his revenge came in the form of redeeming himself in front of Miss Elizabeth, who saved him from a post match kicking from former manager Sensational Sherri. The two reunited on-screen after two and a half years and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
On the July 6th 1991 edition of Superstars, Okerlund and Elizabeth are joined in the ring by Savage, who’s sporting an effeminate pair of ring boots. Savage tells Okerlund he’s been thinking about returning to the ring at SummerSlam. Okerlund reminds him contractually his career is over. Savage says no-one tells him what to do. He has something to say to all the fans around the world and Miss Elizabeth. He stutters her name a few times, declares his love then pulls out a ring. After some stalling, Savage gets down on one knee and pops the question. Elizabeth says “ohhh yeahhh.” The two embrace as Savage hoists her on his shoulder just like he did at WrestleMania. Roddy Piper, on commentary resolves we’ve got “a wedding and a ring ding.” Vintage Hot Rod!
The “Match Made in Heaven” closes out SummerSlam 1991 at Madison Square Garden. Both wear white, while a row of flower girls are dressed in pink. Savage has a large white feather on top of his hat. The vows go off without a hitch. Savage takes off his glasses as both accept each other. Savage places the ring on Elizabeth’s finger and the two are declared husband and wife. Savage takes Liz’s hand and kisses her as streamers along with white and pink balloons fall from the ceiling. Pomp and Circumstance rings out through MSG. Jake Roberts would pull a surprise Snake attack at the reception, but that isn’t shown. The first couple of the WWF had, in reality been married since December 1984. However, the partnership both on and off-screen would end a little over a year later when they divorced in September. Sadly, Elizabeth Hulette passed away in May 2003 from a drug overdose at Lex Luger’s home. Meanwhile, Savage entered into his second marriage last May with long term girlfriend Lynn Payne.
Given how often he’s featured on the show and asked about by fans, Savage is more than deserving of a place in the Hall of Fame. I don’t care what heat he has with Vince, the man deserves his due. It’s as simple as that.
Apart from the Randy Savage parts, this week’s show felt very random and disjointed. The matches didn’t really seem to link in and fit with the theme too well. Very lazy production with the repeat of the Crush and Doink match too. Hopefully, we get a more bucked up WrestleMania revenge show next week.
In closing, I’d like to wish Edge a happy and healthy retirement. At first, I thought it was an angle and I spent most of Edge’s Raw speech waiting for Alberto Del Rio to attack. I’ve since rewatched the speech, together with this week’s Smackdown and wow, pretty emotional stuff, especially the part with his Mother. I’m repeating what thousands have already said, but thank you Edge for putting your body on the line for all of us for so many years. You’ve brought out every emotion out of this fan throughout your 13 year WWF/E tenure. Your rightful place in the Hall of Fame awaits Edgemeister!
See you all next week!
Any comments or discussion points drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.