Written by: Scrooge McSuck
– My obsession with overseas tours and 1993 in general leads me to quite a rarity here… the WWF’s European Rampage Tour was still underway, and I’m pretty sure we’ve covered stops in Sheffield, England and Paris, France, but here we are, coming from the Forum Assago in Milan, Italy, for another taste of what the WWF had to offer. Originally broadcasted on the Tele+2 network, and obviously done with Italian commentator Dan Peterson, so no luck on me having much of a clue to what is being said. My ancesters would be ashamed of me. Note: Two matches that took place but weren’t televised included Virgil taking on Terrific Terry Taylor, and Scott Steiner going one-on-one with I.R.S. The last seems odd, since they were on the televised portion, and in tag action, no less. The match was featured on Global Warfare as well, so I guess cameras were rolling for Coliseum Video.
“El Matador” Tito Santana vs. Doink (the EVIL Clown):
Thank you! For the previous experiences in the European Tour, Doink had been saddled with the workrate sucking machine Kamala, so not only is this potentially going to be a good match, but it’s a fresh one for me too, as I don’t recall ever seeing a Santana/Doink encounter. Doink is actually introduced as “The Evil Clown, Doink”, just incase no one knew he was a heel. Doink offers a handshake, but Tito isn’t that much of a sucker. Doink avoids several attempts at a grapple, frustrating everyone. Doink sucker punches Santana after the third time, but Santana quickly comes back with a dropkick. Doink hides behind the referee in the corner, and stalls. Santana with a side headlock, followed by a shoulder block. Whip to the ropes and Santana knocks Doink out of the ring with a forearm (but not the flying forearm). Back inside, Doink thumbs the eyes, countering a hip toss. Doink tosses Santana to the floor and introduces him to the ring apron. Back in the ring, and Doink goes to work on the left arm. The camera has a hard on for Doink’s jacket and umbrella, for whatever reason. We actually get an advertisement prompt during the armbar. That’s a creative way to work them into supercards. “This resthold is brought to you by Tropicana Orange Juice.” Doink with knees to the forearm, followed by stompin’. The crowd rallies behind Santana, who makes his comeback with roundhouse rights. Doink puts a quick hault to that, with a well placed punt to the chest. Whip to the corner, and Doink posts himself on a charge. Santana comes off the ropes with a clothesline, and hammers away with rights. Santana with an atomic drop, then a reverse variation. Santana with the flying forearm, but Doink gets a foot on the ropes at two. Whip to the corner, Santana with mounted punches. Doink goes in the jacket, jams Santana in the face with whatever he took out, and covers for the three count at 8:44. Not too bad, but something that would pass for a Superstars feature in terms of quality. Santana’s time in the WWF was soon coming to an end.
– Guido Bagatta is hanging around backstage to get interviews from the various WWF SuperStars. He actually speaks both Italian and English to get a proper “interview” going and to translate to the non-english speaking audience watching on the local networks.
WWF Tag Team Championship Match:
Money Inc. © vs. The Steiner Brothers:
(Ted Dibiase & I.R.S. vs. Rick & Scott Steiner)
As many times as I can watch these two teams, I wouldn’t have minded someone filming the actual title changes. With so many people recording meaningless and forgetable house shows, you’d think someone in 1993 could’ve snuck in a camera to one of them. Money Inc. refuses to let the Steiners in, so the referee pulls the old “they forfeit the match and titles” crap. I never understood how the referee could make that decision all by himself, but it’s logic in wrestling, I guess. Maybe Jack Tunney gave special permission or something. The Steiners quickly get the upperhand and dispose of the Champs, who take a minute to stall. Dibiase starts with Rick, and hammers away. Dibiase grabs a headlock and takes over for an early two count. Whip to the ropes, and Rick takes Dibiase over with a belly-to-belly suplex for two. Scott tags in and goes to work on the left arm. Rick tags in, brings him over with a fireman’s carry, and slaps on the armbar. Scott back in with a clothesline, arm drag, and side headlock. I.R.S. tags in and gets worked over, as well. Scott chases I.R.S. around the ring, grabs him by the tie, and hangs him across the top rope for a two count.
Whip to the ropes, and Dibiase trips Scott up, allowing I.R.S. to knock him through the ropes. Dibiase greets him with a warm welcome into the security rail. Back inside the ring, I.R.S. drops an elbow for two. Dibiase with a double axehandle as we go to commercial?! We return, and Dibiase has a chinlock applied, but Scott quickly escapes with a momentum lunge to the corner. I.R.S. cuts off a tag and slaps on another chinlock, but Scott escapes with a jawbuster. Money Inc. cuts off the tag again, and Dibiase brings Scott over with a suplex for two, before going back to the chinlock. Scott escapes with elbows to the midsection, then counters a suplex with one of his own. I.R.S. cuts the tag off AGAIN. Scott slugs it out with Dibiase before being choked out with the tag rope. I.R.S. tags in, snapmares Scott, and misses an elbow drop. Irish whip, and Scott with a high body press for a two count. Dibiase prevents the tag with an elbow to the back of the head, and tosses Scott to the outside. Rick tosses his brother back into the waiting arms of Dibiase, who connects with a gutwrench suplex for another two count. Scott lays out everyone, but once again, gets dragged away from making the tag. Whip to the ropes, and Scott counters a back drop with a face-first slam into the canvas. I.R.S. with a slam, and he unwisely heads to the top rope, and eats boot on the way down. Rick FINALLY gets the hot tag, and hammers away on Dibiase. Whip to the ropes, and Steinerlines for everyone. Scott comes back in with a pair of dropkicks. Dibiase goes for a piledriver on Rick, but Scott clotheslines him from the second rope for a two count. Whip to the ropes is reversed, and Rick counters with a powerslam. Scott tags in and hits the Frankensteiner, but I.R.S. breaks the pin with a shot with the belt, drawing the DQ at 15:02, awarding the match, but not the titles, to the Steiner Brothers. That was a damn fine match, and we all knew the lame ending was coming. I remember these two teams having a subpar, boring match at the card in Barcelona, but this was fantastic tag team wrestling, with a long heat segment that never relied heavily on lengthy restholds, and fluid performances from everyone.
The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. Yokozuna (w/ Mr. Fuji):
This match was recycled for the WWF Global Warfare Coliseum Video, the only match from this telecast to be so featured, but it’s short, so let’s get an original commentary for it from yours truely. Despite these two having nothing to do with each other, I guess it’s a strong secondary main event for two non-title holding main eventers. I would’ve liked to see a WWF Title Match, but Hogan was busy filming Mr. Nanny or something equally awful. I know it’s hard to tell for some, but Yokozuna was already visibly beefier than when he first debuted 6 months earlier, and this is still what I call “Skinny Yokozuna.” Lots of stalling until the face-to-face staredown. Yokozuna strikes first, and ‘Taker obviously no-sells. Undertaker responds and comes off the ropes with a DDT. Undertaker comes off the ropes again, but misses an elbow drop, and Yokozuna clotheslines him to the floor. Fuji with a cheap shot, allowing Yokozuna to attack from behind, and ram the ‘Taker into anything in his path. Undertaker no-sells again, and chokes away in the corner. Whip to the corner, and Yokozuna comes back with a scoop slam and leg drop. Undertaker sits up, so Yokozuna puts him back down with a clothesline. Undertaker sits up again, so Yoko says screw this, and KO’s him with the salt bucket, giving Undertaker a lame DQ victory at 5:43. Yokozuna tries to drop ass on Undertaker afterwards, but Undertaker sits up and lays Yokozuna out with a chokeslam that only is rivaled in atrociousness by the one he gave Hulk Hogan at Judgment Day 2002, and yes, I’m aware Yoko’s weight of 500+ pounds makes it harder to get him up for a proper spot. Nothing terrible, seeing as how short it was kept to protect both men.
Tatanka vs. Papa Shango:
Talk about a weird choice. I know Shango was used sparringly still at the time (working mostly in USWA, feuding over the Heavyweight Title), but I don’t think I’ve seen him on any of the other European Rampage cards. It’s definitely a step up from the WWF using the Brooklyn Brawler on these shows. If Monsoon were calling the action, he’d say this was a main event in any arena in the world. Lockup into the corner, and Shango with a cheap shot. Tatanka with chops in the corner, followed by a clothesline. Whip to the corner is reversed, but Shango eats boot on a charge, and Tatanka sends him out of the ring following three more clotheslines. Back inside, and Shango wants a test-of-strength. Shango cheap shots Tatanka, again, and puts him down with a slam. Tatanka avoids an elbow, heads to the top, and takes a shot to the chest, going for a big chop. Shango sends Tatanka to the buckle, and pounds away. Tatanka mounts a mild comeback before being tossed over the top rope. It’s safe to say already that this match is pretty bad. They brawl outside the ring and blow a spot that wasn’t even supposed to be done. Back inside, and Shango with a sloppy side suplex for a two count. Tatanka goes through his War Dance, meaning it’s comeback time. Tatanka with chops and a back drop for a two count. Whip to the ropes, and Tatanka surprises Shango with a roll up for the three count at 6:00. At least it was short, but it still felt like a chore to sit through.
The Bushwhackers vs. The Beverly Brothers:
(Butch & Luke vs. Blake & Beau Beverly)
Oh no, not the Bushwhackers! Who knew this was being used on the tour, too?! I was all but certain that the Beverly’s split up by this time, but I guess we had to get one last hurrah of them against the Bushwhackers, another act that was inconsistantly used in 1993 (thank God). You can tell this one is going long… they play to the crowd and stall for the first few minutes. Sadly, the crowd is digging the Bushwhackers. There’s a lot of licking and a lot of whacking going on. Beau quickly goes to work on Luke, who’s terrible selling can only be rivaled by a senile old hobo. Luke bites Beau’s butt, and a pair of forearms clears the ring. Don’t encourage them, paisans! Blake and Butch tag in, and we get more stalling. Blake nails Butch for playing to the crowd too much, making him my favorite wrestler for the next 2-minutes. Whip to the ropes, and Butch with a knee and bulldog. Everyone brawls, with the Bushwhackers dominating with school boy trips and clotheslines. Beau and Blake take turns trying to sneak back in the ring, but with zero success. If I could describe the Bushwhackers wrestling style, it would be a poor version of the Harlem Globetrotters. Completely exposes the “sport” with comedy and over-the-top performances, yet still entertains retarded children. The Beverly Brothers finally take control, working over Luke. Blake comes off the ropes for a splash, but Luke rolls out of the way. Beau cuts off the tag and comes off the second rope with an axehandle. The local network advertises another show in the middle of the “heat” segment. They continue to double team Luke, doing little of interest. Luke’s selling is easily the worst I have ever seen. Blake takes a shot at Butch for the hell of it, then throws Luke out of the ring. Whip to the corner, and Luke explodes out with a clothesline, complete with over-sell from Beau. Butch gets the hot tag and runs through both Beverly’s with clotheslines. The make-shift battering ram connects, followed by a diving forearm for a two count. Beau trips Butch up, and Blake covers for two. Heel miscommunication happens, and Butch covers Blake for the three count at 14:42… seriously, the bushwhackers won a match?! Absolutely terrible and a waste of 15-minutes.
Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. Bam Bam Bigelow:
I guess this is the Main Event, and considering Bret’s popularity in Europe, I guess it’s not a bad call. I don’t think they had any formal program on television, but worked together a lot on the house show circuit. These two had a solid match in Barcelona that was featured on Global Warfare and the Bret Hart DVD, so let’s see if this is pretty much the same match, or if worked a little differently. Bigelow does his body roll to show his athleticism, but falls on his face lunging at the Hitman. Lockup, and Bigelow shoves Bret out of the ring. Bret grabs a side headlock, but Bigelow is too strong, and plows through Bret with a shoulder tackle. Bigelow with a rake of the eyes and clubbing blows across the back. Whip to the ropes, and Bret comes back with a dropkick. Bigelow bounces back from the ropes with the momentum for a quick elbow attempt, but Bret rolls away, and pounds on the arm before clamping on an armbar. Bigelow throws Bret to the corner, but misses a charge. Bret snaps Bigelow over, drops a pair of knees across the elbow, and goes back to the armbar. Bigelow goes for a press slam, but Bret shifts his weight to land on top for a two count, but gets thrown out of the ring in the process. Bret slides back in through the legs and knocks Bigelow out with a diving back elbow. Bret hops off the apron into the arms of Bigelow, and gets rammed back-first into the post for his efforts. Kudos to both for making that spot look much better than usual. The impact and force on it hurt my back just looking at it.
Bret slowly gets to his feet, so Bigelow heads back outside and does it again, just because he can. Bigelow hoists the ring steps above his head, but referee Earl Hebner prevents him from using them. Bigelow greets Bret back in the ring with blows across the back. Bret mounts a mild comeback before Bigelow goes to the eyes, and whips him hard into the corner. Bigelow sends him to the opposite corner, then drops a pair of headbutts to the lower back. Bigelow with a delayed vertical suplex for a two count. Whip to the ropes, and Bigelow has Bret up in the air for a bearhug. Bret claws away at Hebner, selling the pain inflicted. Bret escapes for the moment, but Bigelow takes him down with a back suplex and covers for two. Bigelow continues to punish the back of the Hitman with boots and headbutts. Bigelow hoists Bret up over his head into the body vice, another move that was definitely underused for the last forever. Bret keeps his arm up on the three drops attempt, rolls through, and brings Bigelow over with a back suplex of his own. That couldn’t have helped his back, and now both men are down. Bret comes off the ropes with a body press, but Bigelow holds him up and connects with a back breaker. So much for that comeback attempt. Bigelow drags Bret from off the canvas, only to plant him once more with a slam. Bigelow picks him up again, and connects with a double underhook back breaker! When the hell did he ever use that?! Bigelow makes his slow climb to the top rope, and predictably misses the diving headbutt. Bret with everything he can throw, then mounted punches in the corner. Bret with a russian leg sweep for a two count, but Bret doesn’t accept it. Bret to the second rope, and he nails Bigelow with a clothesline for another two count. Bret goes up again, and a bulldog follows. Bret sets up for the Sharpshooter, but Bigelow kicks off with ease, and catches Bret off the ropes in another bearhug. Bret bites to escape the grip, and a back suplex is countered by Bigelow with a body press for a two count. Whip to the corner, and Bret boots Bigelow charging in. Bret climbs on top of his shoulders, and the victory roll finishes Bigelow off at 19:39. Outside of a dull spot or two towards the middle portion, another outstanding match. It seemed like a cross between what they did in Barcelona and at King of the Ring, but it flowed well and built up nicely towards a hot finish.
Final Thoughts: Believe it or not, a European card from the early 90’s that I would recommend! Sure, there’s the stinkers between the Bushwhackers/Beverly’s and Tatanka/Shango, but Bret/Bigelow and the Tag Title Match definitely delivered in terms of entertainment and quality wrestling. Since this was only televised overseas, commentary is not available in English, but somehow that adds to the enjoyment of the show: just being able to watch the action without manipulation from the broadcasters, or distraction in some cases. Worth a viewing if you come across it, but as I always recommend, skip over anything with the Bushwhackers. You’ll thank yourself for it later.