Chris' Blog

WWF Biggest, Smallest, Strangest, Strongest

It’s time to continue our trip through the eighties with the next WWF Coliseum Home Video release, Biggest, Smallest, Strangest, Strongest. This looks like another compilation tape, much like the first WWF Video, Bloopers, Bleeps and Bodyslams. The box for this one is bright purple and features George Steele, Ivan Putski, Jesse Ventura, a Moondog, Andre the Giant and Big John Studd. If this is only clips, I won’t bother recapping the matches, just a quick rundown of what’s featured. Let’s see what we get.

The classic opener with that great eighties music, of course we get Jesse Ventura as our host for the second time. He also hosted “Most Unusual Matches” previously, and suits the title of this one as well. We get highlights of Andre, Steele, midgets, and other’s that will be featured.

1. The Biggest

Andre the Giant faces Samoan #3, this should be a quick squash match, as Samoan #3 was the extra Samoan alongside Afa and Sika. Vince McMahon talks about Andre’s undefeated streak as Andre quickly overpowers the Samoan. We cut off in about two minutes and go to highlights of Bobo Brazil facing Freddie Blassie, followed by a clip of Haystacks Calhoun. Both these clips were shown on the previous tapes, way to recycle footage Vince. Now it’s time for Ernie Ladd versus two scrubs, then highlights of Ivan Koloff, the former WWWF Champion. Quickly over to Gorilla Monsoon facing off with the Wolfman. Gorilla finishes the Wolfman with a chop and then the big splash. So far we’ve gotten about thirty seconds on average per match. Now it’s Piper’s Pit with Blackjack Mulligan, the father of Barry Windham and grandfather of Husky Harris. Recycling highlights continue as we get Hulk Hogan versus Big John Studd from the Hulk-a-mania tape.

This is the perfect tape if you have ADD, as nothing gets focused on for very long. Now we see where Vince Russo got his inspiration for Crash TV, throw everything at fans quickly and don’t let them get too attached to anything. Nikolai Volkoff shows off his power press slamming a 280 pounder before delivering a backbreaker for the win. Jesse introduces his new favorite, and one of mine, King Kong Bundy facing Tony Garea. Bundy was still managed by Jimmy Hart at this point, but at least he wasn’t still wearing a cape! It’s amazing to see a former champion, Garea, being a jobber for the newcomer. Do you think we would ever see John Cena, Randy Orton or Triple H be a jobber to make new stars, never happen. Hillbilly Jim makes his Madison Square Garden debut facing Rene Goulet, as Jesse warns us that we have a full tape of the Hillbillies coming, not looking forward to that. We get a few minutes of this match at least, as Hillbilly catches Rene coming off the top in a bearhug for the easy win. This takes us over to Piper’s Pit with Hillbilly Jim, who has someone for Piper to meet. Jim introduces Uncle Elmer, a huge mountain of a man, and Piper suddenly wants to make friends. Can’t wait to get to the Piper tape, he was the best back in the day, one day I’ll recap the DVD as well. At least we didn’t get an Elmer match, thankfully.

2. The Smallest

Well, this is going to be the death of me, I hate watching midget matches, they’re always treated as a joke. Maybe this explains my hatred for Hornswoggle? Anyways, it’s Ivan the Terrible and Billy the Kid versus Tiny Tom and Butch Cassidy as Jesse mentions a list of the big name midgets of the era. Jesse calls them the funniest in the business, somehow that’s not very politically correct. Skip forward to Tiger Jackson teaming with the Haiti Kid facing Pancho Boy and Dana Carpenter. Tiger is best know for playing Dink alongside Doink the Clown, and teaming with the Bushwhackers, while Haiti Kid is best remembered for getting his head shaved by Piper while feuding with Mr T and getting knocked out by Jimmy Hart using Terry Funk’s branding iron. Don’t know what is worse the match or the commentary team of Mene Gene and Vince, as Tiger blows the finish and they redo it, nice. More midgets as we get another tag match, with Little Beaver now, best know for being on King Kong Bundy’s team at Wrestlemania Three and eating the big elbow from Bundy. One midget bites the other one on the ass, this is so stupid, clip to Beaver press slamming Sky Low Low and scores the fall. Another match as Sky Low Low teams with Little Brutus to face Frenchie Lamont and Little Joey, can we end the midget crap. Great this is two out of three falls, and they’ll probably show the whole damn thing. Sky Low Low is the heel as Joey plays face in peril for this match, Sky and Brutus double team Joey. It’s sad this is the match they’ve shown the most of, I have to say the quality is impressive for thirty year old footage. Sky scores the pin on Joey, and thankfully they only show the first fall, and we move on to something better.

3. The Strangest

This should be fun, as we start with the Rugged Russians, a masked Russian tag team. Bet they weren’t Russian, as we go to the Wolfman again. We already saw his squashed by Monsoon earlier in the tape, as we get more highlights from that match. Over to Pampero Firpo, who has the wildest hair this side of Carlito. I remember reading about him in the old Apter mags, and he had one of the funniest interviews. It’s amazing they included him, considering he was only in the WWWF for one year, 1972. Highlights of Crazy Luke Graham, beating up a jobber, then an interview with Luke and his manager the Grand Wizard. Luke was claiming to be the brother of former champion Billy Graham, but of course they were not related in any way. The symbol on Wizard’s turban looks like the current WWE logo, which is kind of odd, I know it’s supposed to mean Wizard but it just looks funny. Time for a Canadian Legend, Maurice Vachon, the uncle of former WWF star Luna Vachon. Maurice is facing a jobber and just hammers him in the corner, then lives up to his Mad Dog nickname by biting the guy.

The match cuts off as it’s time for Afternoon Tea with Lord Alfred Hayes, The British Bulldogs, Mr Fuji and Moondog Spot. I always liked Spot, the Moondog gimmick was classic, obviously considering there was about a dozen of them. Moondog snaps and starts destroying all of Alfred’s china, as the Bulldogs are just dumbfounded. They’re probably wondering what the hell kind of wrestling organization they got themselves into, as we move along to Mil Mascaras. Mick Foley talks about him in his book, and basically calls him a jerk when it came to their match at the Clash of Champions, which is the next major undertaking I plan to do after these tapes. Of course we have to get highlights of the manager of champions, Captain Lou Albano, as Gorilla calls him a walking advertisement for birth control. We get highlights of Superfly Snuka beating the crap out of his former manager, for a couple of seconds. This sends up over to Nikolai Volkoff, Iron Sheik and Freddie Blassie, who ask us to all rise for the singing of the Russian National Anthem. Were there any better heat magnets in the eighties then these three?

Now we get a quick video of the fashions of the WWF featuring Jesse Ventura, Adrian Adonis, Sheik, Brutus Beefcake, Junkyard Dog, the Strongbow Brothers, Hulk Hogan, Mene Gene, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Jimmy Hart, Freddie Blassie, Cyndi Lauper, Greg Valentine, Bobby Heenan, Johnny Valiant, Fabulous Moolah, and the Moondogs. This is stretching things as the only things odd about Greg is the robe, JYD is the chains and Piper is the kilt. Bobby Heenan, Big John Studd & Ken Patera give some guy a haircut on the set of TNT, Heenan was a classic as he makes fun of the guys hair. The heels spray the guy down with something, and once he’s wet they cover him in powder, hope they payed the guy well. We now get some clips of the newcomers to the WWF, Mad Maxine, who lasted about a week in the WWF. The Missing Link, who I was lucky to see in person about a year before his death, who also didn’t last long in the WWF, about four months. Bobby Heenan, Vince and Alfred are in a cave, which is where Link was supposed to have lived. There are no gimmicks like this in wrestling anymore, speaking of awesome gimmicks, George Steele. Steele is one of the most well known characters of the eighties with his eating turnbuckles and lusting after Elizabeth, he played the character to a tee. Steele tears apart the buckle and shoves the stuffing into the face of Steve Lombardi before tossing him out of the ring.

4. The Strongest

Jesse says before this section starts he wants to warn the viewers not to try the feats of strength in this section, and sends it over to Bepo the Mongol facing Bruno Sammartino. Bepo is of course better known as Nikolai Volkoff, and was one half of the tag champions at the time, as Bruno unloads on the big guy. Bepo comes back and shoulder blocks the champion out of the ring as we cut over to Ivan Putski, who’s son was a complete flop in the nineties, who faces Jesse Ventura in an arm wrestling match, those are always thrilling. I’m surprised we haven’t had one between Mark Henry and Big Show, better not give them ideas. Jesse takes his time removing all his paraphernalia, before we get a posedown, what is Vince’s obsession with posedowns? Jesse stalling, as they’re wasting a lot of tape on this, and I don’t know why. They finally lock up and Ventura breaks away again, I can’t believe they’re showing this in it’s entirety. Another lock up and this time Putski breaks away, causing Jesse to have a major meltdown and the fans are loving it. Was it this much easier to pop a crowd in the eighties or was it because the characters were so much more fun? I think it’s because the characters were different and entertaining, unlike today where they are all the same, boring and bland. Lock up attempt number three, and Putski starts to go down but Putski makes the comeback and Jesse cheats to regain the advantage. Putski again comes back and Jesse cheats again, which the ref misses again but Putski overpowers a third time and Ventura pulls him across the table then slams the chair across Ivan’s head repeatedly. Ventura stomps a mudhole in Ivan before spitting on him and posing over his fallen foe, then drives the knee into Ivan’s face repeatedly.

Heading over to the Iron Sheik’s tent as he does his classic Iranian Club twirling demonstration. Even back then it was impossible to understand what Sheik can say, as the challenge was if anyone else can do what he does, he will do it for double the time. Now back to the TNT set as Big John Studd is ready to set a bench press record, another gimmick gone by the wayside. Bravo did the same gimmick in the late eighties, including the weight lifting challenge at the first Royal Rumble. Big John starts out by lifting 630 pounds, and then adds on more weight while calling out Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant. Studd now presses seven hundred pounds, supposedly to set the World Record, but is unable to do it and has to have it lifted off his chest. Studd claims they gave him a lousy lift off and wants another chance, but Vince says there is not enough time. Later that night, Studd comes out and interrupts Bruno Sammartino, Studd wants his chance to do it again, so Bruno says he’ll spot him this time. Studd says he is risking his career with this lift, but he knows he can do it. Studd claims another lousy lift off, but pulls it off this time and says he knew he could do it.

Finally to the ring for Tony Atlas, who we just saw on RAW this week doing his goofy laugh, facing Ken Patera. This starts out with a posedown, of course, Atlas sends Patera to the floor and fires up the crowd. At least this wasn’t during the period when Atlas was doing the very racist Saba Simba gimmick, whoever thought of that should have been shot. Let’s have a talented black athlete come out dressed in a loin cloth, with a big mask, a spear and a shield, classy Vince, very classy. Anyways they cut the match off to show some of Ken’s feats of strength. First one is driving a one inch spike through a piece of walnut with his bare hands. Patera has the whitest hair I’ve ever seen, it’s almost ghostly, as he drives the spike through the board. I can’t believe that we have a full tape of this man coming up, that may be worse then the Hillbilly tape, at least all the other tapes are good. I think this is the last compilation style tape as well, which is good as I like the ones with full matches. Meanwhile in the ring, Patera is still doing feats including bending a spike and blowing up a hot water bottle using his mouth. Well, guess that proves he’s full of hot air, as he is able to do it but looks like he’s going to pass out. Vince tosses the bottle into the crowd, wonder if these were legit or not? Now we get footage of Ken holding back a van using his legs leaning on a wall. Ken calls Vince, Mr. McMahon which is funny for some reason, as Ken tells Vince to drive the van and Alfred makes fun of Vince’s driving. Vince is anxious to drive Ken through the wall, as he honks the horn and revs the engine. Bet Ken wasn’t the last person that Vince wanted to put through a wall. Ken’s hair reminds of Gary Spivey from the Psychic network, I remember when Gary showed up on Nitro to help Paul Orndorff. Ken finally gets in position and is able to hold back the van, and Ken is furious with Vince for holding the gas to long, as we fade to our closing video.

Well, running just a little over an hour long this is a pretty good little compilation tape with some nice historical stuff. Other then the midget crap, it wasn’t bad, for what it was. Coming up next is one of my favorite wrestlers getting his own tape, Rowdy Roddy Piper, looking forward to this one.


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