Written by: Tom Hopkins
This is an interesting release on the WWE’s part. The Legends of Wrestling is a series that airs on 24/7, something I still don’t have on TV in my area, but I’m not bitter. It’s a roundtable discussion of past stars on other past stars or whatever the topic may be. This is three individual shows, separated into three discs which all have their own slipcase. It’s almost like three individual DVD’s packed into one collection, possibly testing the waters to see if this could be something they release standalones of.
The Main Characters
The three discs talk about Jerry Lawler, Junkyard Dog, Sgt. Slaughter, Ric Flair, and the Heatseekers of the industry.
It varies depending on who is being discussed.
Jerry Lawler & Junkyard Dog (49:06)
This roundtable is hosted by Jim Ross and includes Dusty Rhodes, Michael Hayes, Pat Patterson and Michael Graham as our panelists. We look at Lawler first. He is now best known as an announcer but was a huge draw in Memphis in the 70’s and 80’s. Why not have him on the show? He is employed by the WWE afterall. They talk about how he wasn’t a drinker or smoker.
Hayes didn’t like Lawler when they first met and Graham didn’t have a lot of interaction with him. Well, I don’t know who Graham is so it’s alright. Hayes talks about crapping his pants during a match in Memphis while wrestling Lawler and Dundee. Ross explains why they were called Freebirds and Dusty jokes that the only people watching this who wouldn’t understand it would be the writing team.
Patterson says Lawler must’ve had something to remain a big draw in Memphis for all that time in the territory days. Pat also relays a story about first being in the WWE at Royal Rumble and having someone crap in his crown. Of course, you can’t talk about Lawler without mentioning Andy Kaufman.
Ross muses, what made him great? Everyone says he was a great talker. They show a promo he cut to hype his Super Clash match with Kerry Von Erich. They talk about his promos during his Bret feud, too. They talk about his marriage to Stacy Karter, aka Kat, as well as his artwork. They end with an odd story of Lawler going to Cybil Shepherds house and eating red cabbage and not being able to seal the deal.
With that, we move to JYD. They show Ernie Ladd’s speech from JYD’s introduction into the WWE Hall of Fame. Ross says that JYD called him Junkfood Dog. More importantly, Ross talks about JYD breaking racial barriers. There is a story of a famous angle involving the FreeBirds blinding him. Hayes talks about someone bringing a gun to the arena, to be used against the FreeBirds. He then complains about not getting paid well enough for it because of booker’s like Dusty.
Hayes says that he was so well-liked because he was real. He was a black guy who acted like a black guy. (His words, not mine). They show an old TNT interview with Dog where he brings in some food. Graham talks about giving some kid Visine in his coke after the kid asking for all of Dog’s stuff. They also talk about him winning a poll for being the most popular sports athlete in Louisiana.
This was an interesting program. It’s the first time I’ve seen a Legends Program before. It was interesting in some regards, especially when the guys tell some of the more interesting stories. That being said, keeping it to 50 minutes is a smart thing. I found the segment on Lawler to be really interesting, but the one on JYD was rather boring. They talked about how he broke boundaries for 20 minutes and not much else. I guess this will be the closest we get to getting DVD’s on these guys so we have to be thankful for that. Overall, this show worked best when the guys were all interacting and telling great stories. When it’s a one person monologue, and not a discussion, that’s when things got dragged down a bit.
Ric Flair & Sgt. Slaughter (53:11)
This roundtable is hosted by Jim Ross and includes Dusty Rhodes, Michael Hayes, Pat Patterson and Michael Graham as our panelists. We start with the one and only, Ric Flair. Dusty speaks first, since he did wrestle him a bunch of times. Dusty says he’s a great worker and the greatest champion of all time. PS is still pissed that Luger was made a star by Flair, and Graham says Flair did that for a bunch of people, including Sting.
Patterson said that Flair was great at playing the part to which Hayes said he wasn’t playing, that was him. They show an awesome Flair promo that just epitomizes Flair. Flair used to carry bags for Dusty back in 73, and even looked like him (weight-wise) before training and even wanted a last name of Rhodes as his wrestling name. Dusty said that Ric paid his dues and all.
They talk about Hogan and Flair and which one was the best star. Ross asked if there were a draft who would you take first. There are two votes for Flair and two for Hogan. Hayes says Flair could make a star out of anyone in the ring and they show footage of Flair mat wrestling with Barry Windham, making him look like a million bucks and actually pinning Flair in a workout. Both Dusty and Graham say they had a fun time working against Flair. They joke about how he cries a lot, too, even saying he cried before wrestling HHH that one time. Dusty says that John Cena has a love for the business like Flair does.
From there we move to Sgt. Slaughter. Pat actually brought Slaughter into the WWE. Pat knew Slaughter back from when he worked in the AWA. Patterson says his feud with Slaughter at MSG was the biggest of his career. Ross goes as far as saying the Patterson/Slaughter alley brawl match is one of the top 5 matches ever. With all that build-up, it’d be nice to see that match, no? Well, it ain’t on this collection. It is on the 2004 Hall of Fame collection, though.
Dusty has good things to say about Slaughter, except for him turning him into the bosses for being out of dress code recently. That gets a good laugh. They say he was really a good person, too. His heel turn in 1991 was touched upon, during the time of the Gulf War. Pat was saying that him focusing on the GI Joe stuff in the early 80’s was a mistake, since he missed the Hogan stuff and he could’ve been real big.
I guess there isn’t really much you can say about Flair that you haven’t said already. These guys do a good job talking more about the person than the wrestler and it was an entertaining chat about the Nature Boy. The Slaughter one was great and I think he was short-changed a bit. They should’ve easily added another 10-15 minutes of anecdotes about Slaughter on here, from his time in the AWA after the WWE and his GI Joe stuff, as well as his current role in the company. This was a lot more interesting than the first disc. They said that this was 2 out of the 10 80’s stars they looked at, with Lawler and JYD being two others. Why not just release the other 3 episodes, too?
Jim Ross hosts this, as usual, though we have a slightly different cast than normal. Michael Hayes is still here and he’s joined by Eric Bischoff, Jerry Lawler and Mick Foley. JR talks about how great this cast was last time, so that’s not included on the DVD. This is an interesting idea for an episode, all the people who made things difficult for everyone else, or heatseekers. Lawler defines heat and it’s a show about people who whined and bitched backstage. So, we start, naturally with Michael PS Hayes. The PS stood for Purely Sexy for those who don’t know.
Lawler brings up the first mention of Hayes’ heatseeking. So Lawler threw fire at the first show Hayes worked on, and Hayes’ hair was a little singed. Hayes wanted a little extra money for it and JR jokes that Hayes’ hair looks like Dog The Bounty Hunter’s hair. So Hayes threw a temper-tantrum, one that Lawler says he had never seen or heard at the time. Hayes says there are bigger heatseekers than him and he brings up Lex Luger. Hayes did get along well with him though he notes that Luger thought he was better than everyone else and was arrogant. Lawler thinks its because he didn’t think of himself as one of the boys but more of an ex-football player. Hayes does give him credit for drawing money in his matches against Flair and they show a bit of one of their 1988 matches, the one where the match was stopped due to Luger’s girly blade job.
Bischoff gives a story about Luger saying how both companies (WWE and WCW) didn’t steal Luger from the other but were burned by both. Bischoff says he treated people horribly, just because of his arrogance. Lawler thinks it could be a pro football thing, since they weren’t around the business of wrestling all the time, and Goldberg was mentioned. Foley states that all these Heatseekers have the same thing in common, they didn’t have that love of the business that others did. Bischoff said he gave him a low-ball offer and he was hoping he wouldn’t take it, but he did. Foley liked Luger since he worked out at his gym for free, and being at a party for Flair’s birthday when Luger was at his best in 1990.
Foley talks about having heat with Goldberg after writing a chapter about him in one of his books detailing how he hates him because of an incident at Santa’s village with a young kid. Hayes says that when Goldberg came into the WWE who housed even bigger stars, he couldn’t deal with it. King brings up Paul Heyman and JR brings up the fact that Lawler broke his jaw in Memphis and Lawler says he did it on purpose. Foley, again, says he doesn’t have a problem with Heyman except for when Heyman called Foley a whore and worked only where the money was. Lawler also brings up the internet as doing harm to the business and they think Paul was feeding a lot of stuff out there. They show a clip of Paul cutting a promo at the Elk’s Lodge, a place I’ve seen a couple of shows at. JR talks about the WWE sending money to Heyman while he was running ECW. Foley does credit ECW for the creation of WWE Attitude.
One of the things that came before WWE Attitude was the nwo at WCW. One of the main members of the group was Scott Hall, and Bischoff says he HATED working with Hall. Bischoff said he was fine the first few months but got horrible after that, calling him a nuclear manic-depressive. JR said he was fine until the airplane incident, where Hayes’ hair was chopped off. That was the plane ride from hell. Lawler brings up Vince Russo, and Foley likes him too! Hayes brings up Russo making fun of JR using Ed Ferrara. They show the clip and it is pretty tasteless. JR says that when his kids saw that, it began their loss of love for the wrestling business. Foley says that sometimes promoters and writers do things because they find it entertaining, though Bischoff says it wasn’t done to be entertaining but was a personal attack. Bischoff does also apologize for the angle of the nwo making fun of Anderson after his retirement speech.
Hayes does say that McMahon does make himself fair game in the whole embarrassment thing, including having his face shoved in someone’s ass. Bischoff recounts being shoved into someone’s ass on TV and being told by Arn Anderson. He hated the idea, but did it anyway, thanks to Arn talking him through it. Lawler says that McMahon must have heat like crazy with a lot of people.
Buff Bagwell is the last one on the list, and Jim Ross says that Buff’s mother called saying he couldn’t show up for work. Ross told her that Buff should’ve called and not him. Hayes says that Missy Hyatt brought Buff into the business.
This was by far the best one on here. It was really entertaining. It could’ve become a hatchet job but it wasn’t. They talked about why people have heat and Foley was there to try and keep things positive. This was just an awesome look at 4 guys talking about their times in the business and getting great stories. It was really interactive and it was more importantly interesting the whole time. It can get a bit draining talking about one guy for 25 minutes when there’s only about 10 minutes worth of stuff to talk about. I loved the stories and the four guys who were on here were much more interesting than the other two DVD’s. Maybe it’s because you had a promoter from the biggest company of the mid-90’s, one legend and current broadcaster, one of the biggest partiers of the 80’s who has seen it all and the hardcore legend who has been around for all the 90’s and into the 00’s. It’s a great group of guys who played off each other very well.
1) Jerry Lawler & Jimmy Valiant vs. Kerry Von Erich & Michael Hayes (11:05)
This was an AWA match from January 22nd, 1989. Lawler and Von Erich had a feud going at this time. Kerry and Lawler start, with Lawler getting shoved down. The King returns with a shoulder block and a strut. Kerry forearms Lawler down and covers, but King’s feet are in the ropes. Kerry goes for the piledriver but the ref prevents that. A discuss punch misses and Lawler shoves down Von Erich. Small package for Von Erich gets two. He misses an elbow drop and Lawler covers for two. They both throw a punch that lands and both guys are knocked out. Von Erich hits a dropkick and covers for two. They both try dropkicks and miss and they finally tag in their partners. They brawl outside and soon all four are brawling outside leading to a double-KO finish. That was weeeeeak. They continue brawling inside the ring, too. This wasn’t my cup of tea or anything. *.
2) Jerry Lawler vs. Owen Hart (9:21)
This took place on Wrestling Challenge, July 6th, 1993. King demands that Owen kiss his feet. He doesn’t of course, and here we go. Owen sends King to the corner bad backdrops him on the rebound causing King to cower in the corner. They square off again and Lawler is dropkicked and he stalls again. Lawler reaches into his tights, uses an illegal object and punches Owen in the face. King puts his head down only to have it slammed into the mat. Owen connects with a spinning heel kick and a missile dropkick for two. Owen charges but misses and slams his shoulder into the ringpost. One piledriver later and it’s King’s match at 6:30. That was a somewhat clean victory, too. *1/2.
3) Jerry Lawler vs. Roddy Piper (14:48)
This was from King of the Ring, held on June 19th, 1994. Roddy has a kid with him that Lawler humiliated the previous week on Raw, according to the announcers. Piper slugs Lawler around and the King bails. Piper catches him and they head back to the ring. More punching. King bails and now instead of punches inside the ring, they are punching outside the ring. King goes after the kid and Roddy protects him. Lawler takes over with some punching and a sleeper hold. Lawler sets up a piledriver, hits it, then poses a bit before covering. He covers but Piper kicks out at two. They trade punches, won by Piper. Piper hits a pair of bulldogs but Lawler shoves off another one and the ref is bumped. Lawler grabs some brass knucks from his tights and introduces them to Piper’s face. Lawler covers, uses the ropes, but the kid pushes Lawler off at two. Lawler stares down the kid allowing Piper to hit a belly to back suplex for the pin and the win at 14:00 or so. Terrible match. DUD.
4) Jerry Lawler vs. Bret Hart
This was from In Your House, held on May 14th, 1995. This was the first ever IYH by the way. Lawler brings him “mom” to ringside. She looks to be about 20. Lawler gets some jabs in on Hart before Bret makes his entrance. Hart pounds Lawler right into a bailout. Hart follows and continues to dominate. Lawler heads back to the ring to cower but Bret knocks him down and hits a legdrop. He tries a back body drop but Lawler catches him and piledrives him. Lawler celebrates, allowing Hart to recover and slug away at him in the corner. Hart connects with a bulldog and a piledriver of his own. Lawler comes back with a bodyslam and heads upstairs. He leaps off but flies into the fist of Hart. Hart pounds away as Shinjo makes his way to ringside. The referee gets caught in the rope as Bret hits the Side-Russian Legsweep and a second rope elbow. There’s no ref to count the cover, so Hakushi runs down and hits a fist drop to the back of Hart, then two flying headbutts off the top. Lawler gets the pin at 4:41. This was an odd match. Hart pretty much brawled for the whole thing. *1/2. Hakushi and Lawler try to double team post-match but Hart gets the better of that ordeal.
5) Jerry Lawler vs. Bret Hart
This was a Kiss My Foot Match, held at King of the Ring on June 25th, 1995. This would be their big blowoff match. Some girl named Stephanie interviews Lawler. Lawler is confident that Bret will kiss his foot. Of course, Lawler had not washed his foot in weeks leading up to this match. Bret controls early until they head outside and Bret is sent into the steel steps. Bret beats the count in, since if he’s counted out or DQ’ed, the match is over. Bret makes it back into the ring only to fall prey to a piledriver. Lawler hits another one, then he taunts the fans at ringside. Lawler goes for the hat trick and gets it. He finally covers but Bret kicks out at two. Lawler dumps Bret then takes off his boot, showing a very dirty sock. Bret comes in and gets knocked down with the boot. Lawler covers but only gets two. Lawler tries to drive his smelly sock into Bret but he grabs, kicks his leg out and drops a headbutt to his abdomen. Lawler cheats by using the boot again. Lawler tries to crotch Bret on the ringpost but Bret pulls Lawler in and Lawler’s head hits the steel instead. Shinjo and Hakushi come out with Hakushi accidentally hitting Lawler instead of his intended victim. Back in, Bret connects with the side-Russian legsweep, then the backbreaker, then the elbow from the second rope. The crowd’s feeling it and Bret locks on the Sharpshooter. Lawler calls it quits at 9:22 and now Lawler must kiss Bret’s foot. Bret takes off his boot, makes Lawler kiss his foot, then makes Lawler kiss his own, smelly, foot. They decide to not show Lawler throw up backstage. I enjoyed this. **.
6) Jerry Lawler vs. Marty Garner (3:51)
This odd choice is for inclusion on here. This is an airing of WWE Superstars from June 8th, 1996. This was during his Warrior feud. Lawler makes fun of Garner before the match starts and controls early until Garner gets a surprise cross body off the top rope for two. Fist-drop off the second rope sets up the piledriver which ends things at 1:44. Basic squash match. ½*.
7) Junkyard Dog & Sgt. Slaughter vs. Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff (18:22)
This took place on November 10th, 1984 at the Philadelphia Spectrum. This is Texas Tornado rules, which is basically No DQ and all four guys can be in the ring at the same time. Volkoff sings the National Anthem and the fans of the Spectrum are just tossing tons of crap into the ring. These are fans that booed Santa Claus, so I won’t put anything past these crazy Phillies. Huge brawl to start, and the fans are just eating this up. JYD has on fatigues. They do not say Thump on his ass. The heels bail and have beer rained down upon them. They are getting pelted with junk. This is wild. Slaughter slams Sheik with his helmet as JYD pounds on Volkoff with his chain. The heels bail again. Volkoff is tossed outside as JYD does his headbutts on all four. In a cute spot, Slaughter lifts his leg like he’s pissing on him. The heels battle back as a man wearing a “Where’s the Beef” shirt cheers his heroes on at ringside. The heels still control, with JYD getting locked in the Camel Clutch as Slaughter tries to get back into the ring, only to get knocked back each time. Slaughter does get back in and saves Dog, and slugs away. Volkoff and Sheik send Slaughter and JYD into each other and now its Slaughter’s turn to get double-teamed as JYD is tossed outside. Double back body drop for Sarge. Slaughter ducks a double clothesline and responds with a clothesline of his own to both men. Volkoff is tossed outside as Sarge calls for the Cobra clutch. He locks it on Sheik as Volkoff grabs a chair at ringside. JYD prevents him from using it and Sheik finally submits to the Cobra Clutch at 11:24. Honestly, this could’ve used some blood. It was a wild brawl that would’ve benefited from some bloodshed. As it stands, it was still a good brawl and the crowd really helped out the atmosphere for this match. ***.
8) Greg Valentine(c) vs. Junkyard Dog for the Intercontinental Title (9:49)
Taken from ‘WWE: Wrestlemania Anthology Vol. I’ DVD Review
This is and took place at Wrestlemania I, held on March 31st, 1985. Valentine has Jimmy Hart in his corner. JYD works the arm to start, and even punches the Hammer’s arm-pit. That is a spot you don’t see every day. Hammer elbows JYD down, then misses an elbow drop and JYD follows with his headbutts on the mat. Hammer bails. Hammer comes back, knocks down JYD and starts working the leg. Hammer works JYD into the corner, but JYD comes right back with headbutts of his own. Hart distracts the ref, drawing the ire of JYD, who confronts Hart. Hammer tries an overhand chop but JYD moves and Hart is hit instead. JYD pummels Valentine but Valentine knocks down JYD and covers him, using the ropes for leverage at 5:59. But wait! Santana comes out and contests the decision, telling the ref that Valentine used the ropes and the referee reverses the decision. He starts counting out Valentine, who stands there in shock, and Valentine is counted out and JYD is the winner via count-out at 6:11. Valentine keeps his title but JYD gets to celebrate. It was okay for what it was, crazy ending taken into account. *1/4.
9) Junkyard Dog vs. Macho Man Randy Savage (11:10)
Taken from ‘WWE: Greatest Wrestling Stars of the 80’s’ DVD Review
This was the finals of The Wrestling Classic, held on November 7th, 1985. This was sort of a King of the Ring type thing, where wrestlers would battle each other leading to a final match, which is what we have here. Savage was still heel at this time, hiding behind Elizabeth when the match first started. Savage throws a chair at JYD who catches it and smashes it in his head. I think this was the fourth match for Savage and the third for JYD, and Savage looks a little beat already. Savage bails a bunch before we even come to blows in a huge stall job. About two minutes in we have our first lock up, leading to JYD tossing Savage off. Savage tries to bodyslam Dog, and gets a head butt to the back for his troubles. Atomic drop follows, then a bearhug. JYD works the back, which is a weird case of heel in peril. Savage comes back out of the corner with a forearm and covers for two. Savage sends JYD to the outside, then hits a double axe-handle from the top. Savage rams the back of JYD in to the ring post, then another double axe-handle. Savage then with a chair shot to the back, and JYD is in bad shape. Savage drops some elbows on the concrete as Savage keeps rolling in to break the count. Savage sends JYD back in and tries for another double axe-handle but JYD blocks it this time, then charges on all fours with some headbutts. JYD wraps Savage up in the ropes and slugs him. JYD sends Savage to the ropes and puts the head down and gets kicks in the face. Savage charges and is back body dropped to the outside, where he is counted out. JYD wins the tournament at 9:43 via count-out. The match was about 10 minutes, with about 2 minutes of action, with a crappy finish to boot. *1/2. By the way, Jesse is heard on audio here unlike the Stars of the 80’s DVD.
10) Junkyard Dog vs. Adrian Adonis (7:53)
This is from SNME, March 1st, 1986. I don’t anticipate good things from this. JYD tosses Adonis around to start, and Adonis gets tied in the ropes. Adonis frees himself and gets on the apron and is slingshotted in. JYD controls and sends Adonis to the outside. JYD follows and headbutts Jimmy Hart. JYD pulls Adonis in, and Hart with him. He sends Hart into Adonis and both fall to the outside. We take the SNME commercial break and return with JYD punching down Adonis and covering, but Adonis’ foot makes the ropes. A JYD heatbutt misses, the ref is distracted, allowing JYD to the tied to the rope. Adonis tries for a piledriver but the ref is pumped. Hart preps for the megaphone but it ends up hitting Adonis instead and JYD covers for the pin at 6:27. Adonis uses the megaphone to send JYD reeling after the match. I have nothing to say about this. ½*.
11) Junkyard Dog vs. King Harley Race (7:46)
This is from SNME, January 3rd, 1987. I assume this set up their Wrestlemania Match. Danny Davis is the official and he immediately distracts JYD, allowing Race to knock him down and cover for two. A high knee knocks JYD down, then a knee drop gets two. JYD fights back only to have Race hit a belly to belly suplex. A headbutt doesn’t work, since JYD has a thick skull. Race is dumped to the outside allowing JYD to steal, yes steal, Race’s rope and crown. Heenan gets in the ring and Heenan slugs him down. This allows Race to sneak in and drop an elbow to the shoulder of Race of JYD. Race and Heenan pound on JYD as the bell rings at 3:56 for no discernible reason. It seems that Race was DQ’ed and JYD is declared the winner. Heenan and Race try to make him bow, but he fights back then attacks Danny Davis. This was pretty bad. ¼*.
12) Junkyard Dog vs. King Harley Race (7:58)
Taken from ‘WWE: Wrestlemania Anthology Vol. I’ DVD Review
This is a Loser Must Bow match from the biggest PPV ever, Wrestlemania III, held on March 29th, 1987. The stipulation here is that the loser must bow to the winner. Race has Moolah (the current woman’s champ) and Heenan with him at ringside. Heenan interferes right away, leading to a footrace and Harley taking advantage of it. Race dumps the Dog but misses a headbutt from the apron. JYD clotheslines Race in from the apron back into the ring, then tosses him out again. Race makes the apron and this time JYD slams him in. Abdominal stretch slows things down a bit, or just slows it down more, and Race hiptosses out of it then drops a headbutt to the head of JYD. JYD has a thick head and no sells it. JYD sends Race to the corner and he goes up and over. JYD with his crawling headbutts and Heenan interjects himself again, allowing Race to hit a belly to belly suplex for the pin and the win at 3:21. At least it was short. Now, do you expect the good guy to obey the stipulations? Well, he bows, then attacks Race with a chair then steals his robe. It wasn’t a complete mess. ½*.
1) Sgt. Slaughter vs. Mike Rotundo (5:35)
This is from Mid-Atlantic Wrestling and took place on May 12th, 1982. Sarge is the US Heavyweight Champ and Rotundo is a jobber, here. They exchange arm drags leading to Slaughter grabbing a side-headlock. Rotundo breaks and sends Slaughter to the corner, then back drops him on the rebound. A bodyslam gets two. Slaughter comes back with one of his own. Rotundo sneaks in a small package for two, then a sunset flip for two. Rotundo slugs away at Sarge in the corner, leading for the ref to call for a break. Sarge doesn’t break clean, hits a big right hand and that’s enough to secure the victory at 5:13. It must suck to job via a punch. *.
2) Sgt. Slaughter vs. Bob Backlund(c) for the WWE Title (19:15)
This WWE match-up was from September 24th, 1983 at the Philadelphia Spectrum. Monsoon is calling the action with some guy who is really boring. Backlund is really over with the crowd. Tony Garea is your special guest referee. Some guy at ringside has a sign that says, “This Maggot is a …” but the last word is blurred out. I don’t know what it could have possible said. This is a Texas Death Match, too. Slaughter slugs away and dumps Backlund. Slaughter follows and tosses him over the guard rail. He makes it to ringside where Slaughter comes by with a flying elbow off the apron. Slaughter covers outside for two as Monsoon says Backlund would never give up. Slaughter tries to ram Backlund into the ringpost but Backlund shoves him off and it’s Slaughter who is sent there. Slaughter tries to piledrive Backlund outside but Backlund back drops him to counter. We head back inside with Backlund laying on the forearms. Slaughter is sling shot into the corner, then bumps to the outside. Backlund drops an elbow that looks like it missed by a mile, and Slaughter slams into the guard rail. Backlund tries to ram Slaughter into the ringpost but this time it’s Slaughter who counters. Slaughter heads up to the top rope but is caught and pressed off for two. Backlund tries for a bodyslam but Slaughter falls on top of him for two. Slaughter tries for a suplex which Backlund counters to a small package for two. Slaughter comes back with a sunset flip for two. Slaughter loads up his boot, stomps Backlund to the apron, then suplexes him in for two. Sarge tries for the Cobra Clutch but Backlund eludes it. Slaughter tries a suplex which Backlund counters to one of his own for two. Backlund ducks a clothesline and hits a cross body for the pin and the win at 14:04, despite the fact that Slaughter’s foot was on the rope. Slaughter is incensed at Garea and attacks him, and rightly so. This was a lot of punching and kicking, but had a lot of feeling in the match. **1/2.
3) Sgt. Slaughter vs. Iron Sheik (11:47)
This took place on April 23rd, 1984 at the one and only Madison Square Garden. Sheik tries to sneak in and Pearl Harbor Slaughter but fails miserably at that. The fans are eating this up. Slaughter tosses Sheik and stomps away. The fans are really close to the ring, here. Slaughter heads upstairs and hits an elbow from the top rope. Slaughter slugs away and sends Sheik to the corner but a blind charge hits the knees of the Sheik. Sheik controls with his usual offense of kicking and punching. Sheik misses an elbow drop. He tries a suplex which Slaughter reverses into one of his own. Sheik pounds away but Slaughter no-sells and knocks Sheik down. Sheik starts praising Allah and the fans don’t like that, but they enjoy the punches Slaughter rains down on Sheik. Slaughter clotheslines Sheik (called the Slaughter Cannon) then takes off his boot. He tries to use the boot but the ref pulls the boot away, allowing Sheik to take control. Slaughter comes back with the boot as the ref calls for the bell at 8:46. Sheik gets the DQ victory which doesn’t please the fans. Decent punchy-kicky 80’s match. Slaughter attacks Sheik backstage, too.
4) Sgt. Slaughter vs. Col. DeBeers (11:30)
This is from AWA Superclash III, held on December 13th, 1988. This is a boot-camp match, which is basically a match with no rules and no referee. Slaughter is a bit paunchier than he was in his early WWE days. Col. DeBeers has some jobber named Diamond Dallas Page in his corner. Slaughter comes in and punches DeBeers. They punch and kick, use belts and swagger sticks, then brawl outside. Slaughter covers outside for two. The ref is just there to count the pinfalls. They get back into the ring where DeBeers charges with Slaughter’s helmet. Heel miscommunication leads to DDP getting hit instead of Slaughter and a Slaughter Cannon (clothesline) sends DeBeers down. Slaughter headbutts DeBeers with the battle helmet now, then another Slaughter Cannon. Slaughter locks on the Cobra Clutch and that’s all she wrote at 5:41. DDP and Adnan attack Slaughter leading to more Cannon’s and Clutches. Slaughter is attacked by all the foreign heels, including the Iron Sheik, but the Guerrero’s save. Slaughter vows to defeat Sheik, then recites the Pledge of Allegiance. This was crap. *.
5) Ric Flair vs. Lex Luger (35:36)
This took place at Starrcade held on December 26th, 1988. Flair is the NWA Champ at this point. The stipulation here is that is Ric Flair is disqualified, he loses the title. Flair has JJ Dillon in his corner with him. Flair showboats to start, backs Luger into the corner and doesn’t break clean. He chops at Luger then styles and profiles, until he’s clotheslined to the outside. Flair comes back in with a hammerlock that is reversed by Luger. Flair comes back with chops only to be shoulderblocked down and then walk into a powerslam. Luger press slams Flair and Luger covers but Flair’s feet make the ropes. Flair chops but Luger no-sells it and Flair bails. Luger sends Flair hard into the corner and Luger goes to work on the arm of Luger. Flair breaks and tries a hip toss but that is reversed. A thumb to the eye gives Flair some breathing room. Flair chops at Luger in the corner but Luger doesn’t even feel it. Flair bails again only to have Luger chase. He wraps the arm of Flair around the steel barricade and sends him into the ringpost. Luger continues working the arm of Flair in the ring. Luger clotheslines Nature Boy down for two. Flair rolls to the apron but is caught and suplexed back into the ring for two. Luger misses an elbow drop allowing Flair to pound away at Luger and toss him to the outside. Flair follows and sends Luger into the barricade.
We’re back in and Flair goes to work, dropping the knee and chopping away. Luger starts no-selling those chops and puts Flair in the sleeper. Flair back suplexes out of it and tries for the figure four, but Luger small packages Flair for two. Flair chops Luger down then heads upstairs. He’s caught and crotched and Luger suplexes him off on the second rope. That gets a two. Luger puts on a figure four of his own and Flair sells like a champ. Flair makes the ropes but now his knee is buggered up. The ref is bumped by an errant Luger elbow so Flair throws him over the top rope (usually a DQ) but Luger comes back with a crossbody from the top rope for two. Luger backslides Flair for two. Flair is sent to the corner where he spins around and ends up on the apron. Luger suplexes him back in for two. Luger calls for the Torture Rack as Flair tries to chop him away. That doesn’t work and Flair is press-slammed again.
Luger hits another powerslam, then deals with JJ Dillon who has made it to the apron. This allowed Flair to bail and while the ref is distracted smash the chair across Luger’s knees. Flair goes to work on the knee and after a knee drop locks on the figure four. Luger gets a burst of strength thanks to the crowd and reverses the hold. Flair goes right back to work on the leg then heads upstairs. Luger catches him and slams his off. Luger military presses Flair, damaging his leg a little more so Flair dumps him. Luger sunset flips Flair from the apron for two. Flair tries a running forearm but Luger no-sells that and Flair begs off. Luger pounds on Flair in the corner then clotheslines him down for two. Luger hits a powerslam but shows some wear on his injured leg. Luger puts Flair in the torture rack but his knee gives out and Flair falls on top for the pin (using the ropes) and the win at 30:58. That was a great match with great psychology, especially with the perfect ending. It was slow in the early portions but from 15 minutes on to the end was gold. ****1/4.
6) Ric Flair & Sting vs. Terry Funk & The Great Muta (28:30)
This was the main event of Halloween Havoc held on October 28th, 1989. We skip all the introductions save for the Nature Boy. This was probably the best year ever in wrestling in the NWA, with Flair’s classic series against Steamboat and then his matches with Funk. This is a steel cage match, called a Thunderdome match, so you know this will be brutal. There is no pinfall and the only way to win is if the manager of the other side throws in the towel. Gary Hart is on team Funk while Ole Anderson is on team Flair. I have to say, the props on the side of the cage are pretty hokey. It is Halloween themed, since this is Halloween Havoc and some of the hay on there catches on fire. This is a regular tag match, with Flair and Funk starting off. Flair chops away at Funkster and tosses him into Sting. Bruno Sammartino is the referee for this match and Jim Ross actually mentions his title reign from 63 to 71, though doesn’t mention it was for the WWE, or as it was known then, the WWWF. Flair and Funk exchange bodyslams, with Flair winning that battle and chopping Funk and dumping him to the outside. Sting is tagged in and sends Funk to the cage. Flair comes back in and sends Funk post to post and chops him down. He drops a knee then slaps Muta in the face. This draws Muta to the ring, only to bring in Sting. Flair chops the hell out of both men. Sting comes in with a dropkick to Funk. Funk ends up in his corner and tags in Muta.
Sting slugs it out with Muta, then press slams him into Funk. Sting and Muta brawl on the outside, which draws Funk and Sting ends up taking a beating at the hands of Muta. Sting is worked over by Funk outside and Flair and Muta quickly follow out there. Funk comes over and sends Flair into the cage as Muta suplexes Sting inside the ring. Muta and Funk double-team Sting with elbows until Flair intervenes. He dumps Muta then chops away at Funk. Sting comes in with a bulldog on Muta and Funk. Sting atomic drops Muta into a Flair clothesline and Sting tries for the Scorpion Deathlock. Funk comes in and saves and Sting is double-teamed, which again draws Flair. Flair chases Funk to the cage, who starts to climb and Flair slams his head into the cage. Muta is suplexed by Sting so Muta bails and climbs the cage, but gets shocked near the top. Funk climbs to the top and Flair chops away at him, then swings at him from the rope hanging there.
Back in the ring, Sting has Muta in a military press for quite a while before he slams him. Funk is dangling from the ropes, snot hanging from his nose. Sting goes after Funk now as Flair battles Muta. Flair locks the figure four on Muta, then breaks the hold for some reason. Sting tries to use the rope to fly at Funk but he misses as Muta spin kicks Flair in the back of the head. Funk ties up Sting as Muta works the leg, getting a bow and arrow type move on Flair. Sting is tied up to the cage as Funk and Muta spike piledrive Flair. Sting gets untied and leaps at Funk from the cage into the ring, bodypressing Funk. Muta climbs the cage as Flair chops away at Funk inside. Muta and Sting head back inside, with Muta hitting a backbreaker and heading upstairs. Sting crotches him as Flair locks on the figure four on Funk. While it’s locked on, Sting heads upstairs and frog splashes Funk. Sting does it again but still Gary Hart won’t throw in the towel. Muta charges into Bruno and is knocked out by him as Ole and Gary start fighting. Ole knocks the towel out of Gary’s hand into Bruno and Bruno thinks he’s thrown in the towel. He calls for the bell at 21:56, giving the victory to Flair and Sting. This match was kind of a mess, thanks to so much going on. It was hard to have a flow to the match. ***.
7) Ric Flair vs. Curt Henning (10:33)
This is from WCW Nitro, October 11th, 1999. This is an odd-choice. Everything else is classic 80’s, then this from a really bad period in WCW history. Was this during the Rap is Crap era for Henning? A chop sends Henning reeling. He returns and they do some actual wrestling, until Flair chops away at Henning, then low-blows him. Henning is dumped and Flair follows. They brawl outside, which Henning wins and Flair is suplexed back into the ring from the apron. One short break later (and thanks to the magic of DVD it is REALLY short) we see the two exchange chops and Flair flops to the outside. He takes out the guy Henning has in his corner then comes back in and is whipped to the corner followed by the backdrop. Another whip to the corner leads to a charge by Perfect. That hits Flair’s elbow and Flair heads up top. Flair is pressed off but recovers and lock the figure four on Henning. Henning makes the ropes and Flair breaks, then goes right after the knee. They exchange chops again, as the psychology is all over the place. Henning covers and uses the ropes, but can’t get the pin. David Flair runs out and distracts Henning and Flair covers (using the ropes) for the pin and the win at 7:43. This match was all over the place psychology wise, and is just a shadow of their 1993 Raw match. *1/2.
1) The Freebirds vs. Ron Shaw, Rene Goulet & Charlie Fulton (9:46)
This is was from a WWE Spectrum show, held on August 4th, 1984. I didn’t know the Freebirds even worked in the WWE. Dick Graham and Gorilla Monsoon are calling the action. This must be one of the cups of coffee that the Freebirds enjoyed during their career, as they literally went through every territory back in the days. The Freebirds have Cyndi Lauper with them. By the way, I don’t know any of the Freebirds names except Hayes. Their entrance is like 3 minutes itself, as they Birds go through the halls of the backstage area before making their way to the ring. Hayes and Shaw start and Shaw gets squashed. Goulet comes in and charges and gets backdropped as Shaw is still in a headlock. That was pretty cool. Shaw goes for a tag but no one wants to tag him. Eventually Fulton is tagged in and he’s squashed, too. I have a feeling the announcers don’t know who the Birds are, since they never mention them by name. Hayes gets double-teamed and plays face in peril for three seconds before tagging in Terry Gordy who connects with a big boot. Rene Goulet comes in and controls a bit but doesn’t see the tag to Hayes. Hayes is sent head-first to the corner and double-teamed by the heels. A double elbow gets a one-count. Hayes escapes and makes the hot tag to Gordy. Soon a pier-six erupts with the Freebirds clearing the ring. The Birds do a double back-drop into a powerbomb which is a really sick move. The pin is academic at 4:46. This was a really entertaining squash. **.
2) Lex Luger & Barry Windham vs. The Four Horsemen
From Ric Flair and the Four Horsemen DVD Review
Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson(c) for the NWA Tag Team Titles (11:11)
This was from Clash of the Champions, held on March 27th, 1988. Tully and Luger start, with Luger shoving down Tully. Horsemen double-team but Luger sends them both down with clotheslines. Luger with a powerslam, then he goes for the Torture Rack, but Arn saves with a kick to the knee. Anderson’s tagged in and works on the knee, but Luger kicks off Arn, who collides with Tully’s who is sent outside. Hot tag to Windham and he clears the ring, hitting the lariat, then a powerslam for two. Sleeper for Windham, and Tully tries to go outside to break, but Windham keeps the hold on! Tully goes to the top after Windham breaks the hold and goes into the ring, but is slammed off. Arn’s punched off and Windham goes to the abdominal stretch. JJ distracts the ref, allowing Arn to come in, break the hold, and DDT Windham. Arn covers for two. Spinebuster for Arn gets two. Tully comes in and pounds away on Windham, and covers for two. Tully misses an elbow and Windham comes with a body press for two. Tully and Windham collide, and both men are down. Tully tries to cover but Windham bridges out and side suplexes Tully. Arn’s tagged in, and he pounds away on Windham. Wristlock but Tully flips out. He tries to make the tag but Arn pulls him back. He misses a knee drop, but can’t make the tag. Tully with a slingshot suplex and he covers for two. That was Tully’s finisher at the time I think, making it a huge spot. Windham valiantly fights back and finally makes the tag to Luger as Arn is tagged in. He elbows down both men, clotheslines Arn down and finally the double noggin-knocker. He takes down Arn and goes off the ropes, but is kneed in the back. Luger comes right back with a powerslam on Arn. Tully runs in, drawing Barry and distracting the ref. JJ comes onto the apron with a chair but Arn is pushed into it, knocking him out and allowing Luger to cover for the pin, and giving him and Windham the tag titles at 9:32. A very high-paced match, and it was just action from the get go with no rest-holds. Exciting little match. ****.
3) The Midnight Express & Jim Cornette vs. the Original Midnight Express & Paul Heyman (19:39)
This is a Loser leaves NWA Match held at the great Chi-Town Rumble on February 20th, 1989. The Midnights are Bobby Eaton & Stan Lane and they have Jim Cornette as their manager, while the Originals, managed by Paul Heyman count Jack Victory and Randy Rose as its members. There’s a promo by Jim Cornette from Feb 11th where he says Heyman was the victim of an accidental sex change. Heyman responds in another promo. Rose starts off with Lane and Lane is slammed down. Rose heads upstairs but Rose catches him and tosses him off, then clotheslines him to the outside. Victory is tagged in where he’s taken down by a Eaton drop toe-hold and Lane and Cornette follow with elbow drops. Cornette gets another shot in on Rose and Heyman tries to get one in of his own but just hits Rose, too. Rose stares at Heyman, allowing him to be rolled up for two. Rose bails then draws Eaton, who he tosses onto the steel guardrail. Eaton is bodyslammed and Heyman is tagged in to kick at his prone opponent. Eaton gets up and Heyman quickly bails. Cornette is tagged in and he wants Heyman but Rose attacks him from behind and slams him, and now Heyman comes in and covers for two.
Heyman controls but Cornette comes back leading to Heyman tag out. Cornette is clotheslined down and Victory works him over. Cornette’s guys won’t allow that and bulldog victory and Cornette tags in Lane. Heyman distracts Lane and Rose powerslams him for two. Lane is your face in peril as the Original Midnights work him over. Lane comes back with a mule kick to the gut of Victory and he makes the hot tag to Eaton. Eaton slams down Victory and connects with a missile dropkick. Eaton then forces Heyman to tag in where we get our Cornette/Heyman match-up. Heyman begs off but is slugged down. Cornette clotheslines Heyman and covers but Rose breaks up that pin. Rose is tagged in and Cornette manages to tag out. Pier-six erupts with all the guys in the ring. Rose misses a frog splash and Eaton covers but Victory breaks up that pinfall. The heels end up taking control and elbow down Eaton. The heels end up running into each other, and Rose is double face planted by the Express and that’s enough to finish this at 15:50. This lacked flow for me. Maybe it was the bad crowd, or the dead spots in the match but it just seemed overly average. **.
4) Lex Luger vs. Michael Hayes (17:24)
This is for the NWA US Title and it took place at Wrestlewar, held on May 7th, 1989. Hayes grabs a side head-lock then cross-bodies Luger for one. Luger tries for a powerslam which Hayes spins out of and does a sloppy looking side-Russian legsweep. Luger slaps Hayes which prompts him to bail. Hayes comes back and clotheslines Luger and tries for the DDT. Luger pushes him off and Hayes bails. Hayes comes back in and Luger works the arm. Hayes tries a sunset flip but Luger counters with a punch and goes back to the arm. Luger gets a backbreaker for two then, goes back to the arm. That’s good psychology. If he works the arm he can’t break out of the Torture Rack which works on someone’s back. Hayes chops at Luger and sends Luger to the corner. He follows with a clothesline but Luger no-sells and pounds away at the purely sexy one in the corner. Hayes tries a comeback with an atomic drop but Luger no-sells that, too. Well, steroids will shrink it down there making the move ineffective. Luger charges and leaps at Hayes, who dodges, and Luger ends up outside. Hayes suplexes Luger back in and covers for two. There’s a cute spot where Luger grabs the leg of Hayes who was attempting a kick, then blocks a punch and decks Luger. Hayes bodyslams Luger and drops an elbow for two. Luger makes his comeback by tossing Hayes off an a bulldog attempt. A clothesline gets two for the champ. Luger military presses him a pair of times and goes for the hat trick. He gets the trifecta and its Torture Rack time. Hayes reverses that and DDT’s Luger, leading to a double KO. Slugfest ensues and the ref is bumped, quite poorly I tell ya, and he collides with Luger, and he’s knocked out. Hayes is knocked out, too, but Terry Gordy runs out and pushes Hayes onto Luger, then pushes his foot off the rope, giving Hayes the title at 16:27. This was actually decent. The last 6:30 was especially exciting, as Hayes knew how to the work the crowd and when. **1/2.
5) Scott Hall vs. Goldberg (9:13)
This was from WCW Nitro, held on July 6th, 1998 and it’s for the WCW United States Title, which Goldberg holds. Hall gets shoved down to a monster pop to start. Hall goes to work on the arm but is clotheslined down. Hall wants a test of strength but when Goldberg accepts, Hall kicks him. He chops away but Goldberg sends him into the ropes and Hall falls down in something that didn’t look planned. Hall smacks Billy boy but is slammed down. So Hall spits on him and that doesn’t work either. Goldberg misses a blind charge and Hall takes the advantage with a belly to back suplex for two. Goldberg comes back with some arm-drags prompting Hall to bail and call out for reinforcements. The nwo comes out, but they are warded off by DDP and Karl Malone. Hall stuns Goldberg on the top rope and clotheslines Goldberg down. Hall tries for the Outsiders Edge but Goldberg backdrops out of it. The spear follows and that sets up the jackhammer, which ends things at 5:56. This was really an extended squash. *1/2.
6) Scott Hall vs. Kevin Nash (18:16)
This was from Halloween Havoc, held on October 25th, 1998. This is the battle of the Outsiders. Scott is playing (I hope) a drunkard right now. Scott empties the contents of the glass of liquor he had in his hand into Kevin’s eyes and kicks him to the outside. Hall continues pulverizing Nash outside and this is completely one-sided so far. Hall gets back in the ring so he can heckle his Nash who is still down outside. Hall tells him to go back to the locker room but unfortunately for us, Nash doesn’t listen and instead comes back into the ring, where he’s pounded on some more. Nash is bodyslammed and Hall wants the Outsiders edge. Nash shoves him off, but refuses to fight back. He finally fights back and gets in his first offensive move of the night, a side-slam. Nash controls the match now as the fans are busy sitting on their hands, like I am, too. If you like matches with a lot of punching and standing around, this is the match for you. Heenan says that Nash must be trying to beat some sense into Hall. Nash gets a big boot then a lazy power-bomb where he basically dropped him down unprotected. Since he messed it up so badly, he wants to do another one. Well, he does. He crotch-chops above his face then just walks out, and is counted out at 14:19. This was Hall beating on Nash for a while, then Nash beating on Hall and just walking out. Weird. *.
7) Vince Russo vs. Booker T (10:09)
This classic was featured on WCW Nitro, September 25th, 2000. This was a cage match for the WCW Title, which Booker currently held. Vince Russo has a football helmet on. They have people file out into the ring, with someone’s face blurred out. Russo attacks with a bat from behind. Russo tries to escape but he’s blocked out by some crappy WCW gimmicks. Russo scales to the top of the cage and try to escape, but he’s blocked off again. Sting repels from the top of the roof, too. Booker takes off his helmet and superkicks him. Booker pounds on him until Lex Luger returns and gives Russo a lead pipe. Ric Flair now shows up and attacks Russo. The NBT’s show up and people brawl on the outside, clearing everyone from ringside. Booker hits the axe-kick. Booker tells Russo not to hate the player but hate the game when Goldberg comes out. Now, Booker, a foot away from leaving the cage decides not to and waits for Goldberg. This leads to Booker having the door slammed on him by Steiner. Booker walks out as Goldberg spears Russo through the cage at 8:40(and Russo took a nasty bump, too). This would lead to Russo becoming the WCW champ. This was just terrible. DUD. It’s funny to see how bad WCW got during this time and why people talked about Russo the way they did on the DVD.
8) Buff Bagwell vs. Roddy Piper (8:27)
Somehow this made it onto Pay-Per-View; Bash at the Beach to be specific, held on July 11th, 1999. It’s not even a wrestling match, it’s a boxing match. This is going to be ten three-minute rounds. I don’t foresee good things coming from this. Piper looks a little bit paunchier than he did in the 80’s. Buff at least didn’t have his mother call in sick for him. Judge Mills Lane is the special guest referee. I am really looking for things to write about, since this is a terrible “match.” Speaking of Bagwell’s mother, she’s at ringside. The first round ended at 2:11. So much for those three-minute rounds. Flair sprays something onto the gloves of Piper during the break. Now Schiavone corrects the original 3-minute statement by saying it is two-minutes. Whatever was on the gloves is giving Piper the advantage. This match is like the unbelievable boxing you’d see in a Rocky movie. The third round starts with Judy Bagwell biting Piper’s ear and dumping a bucket on his head. It seems this is all legal. Bagwell hits the Blockbuster and covers for the pin and the win at 4:49. This was beyond terrible. DUD. You can argue how someone can lose via pinfall in a boxing match but that would be pointless and just a waste of time. Nevermind the blatant interference on behalf of Judy Bagwell.
This is standard widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1. There’s not much to say about either, the 80’s footage looks great for its age and sounds fine.
C) Packaging / Liner Notes
This three-disc collection is housed in three standard DVD cases inside a slipcase.
D) Easter Eggs
We get the usual WWE commercials to start off all three discs (WWE 24/7, Home Video, and the Don’t Try This at Home ad). The Lawler/JYD disc would be just “alright” for me. The program was boring at times, especially the JYD portions and the matches weren’t classic by any means. Most of the matches could be found on other collections (especially the JYD stuff) and there were no classic Lawler matches from Memphis, instead focusing on his WWE feud with the Harts. The Flair/Slaughter disc was better, with a more entertaining program and better matches. The better matches were because of Flair but the standout match (the Starrcade 88 match) can be found on the Essential Starrcade DVD. So again, an average show with the rest of the matches being about average. There was nothing spectacular that was found on either of these first two discs that you couldn’t find on any other WWE DVD release. The third disc is the real stand-out thanks to the awesome main program. The matches ratings-wise were pretty bad (except for the hot tag match) but it paints a nice picture of how bad things got with WCW and how bad things could get when you have a company run by these “Heatseekers.” If these are ever released individually, pick up Heatseekers. If it isn’t, I can’t give this a glowing review, it was alright but there’s nothing on here collectively that makes me want to highly recommend this. Mild recommendation, thanks to Heatseekers.
9.0-9.5 Near Perfect, Highly Recommended
8.0-8.5 Really good disc, Recommended
7.0-7.5 Good DVD, Mildly recommended
6.0-6.5 Above Average DVD. Mildest of mild recommendations
5.0-5.5 Decent all around disc, but catch it on TV
4.0-4.5 Great Movie but horrible DVD
3.0-3.5 Horrible movie but great DVD
2.0-2.5 There’s at least some merit to this DVD, but not much.
1.0-1.5 Horrible DVD, don’t even bother
0.0-0.5 Worst DVD ever