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Watch this? You must be piggin' mental, Tommeh!, 6 April 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Sgt Tommy Cannon and PC Bobby Ball are a two-man law enforcement operation working in Little Botham (pronounced 'bottom'). They are successful not because they are good at their job but merely because little to no crime occurs in their sleepy little village. As a result, Ball moonlights (or daylights in this case) as a shop owner while 'romancing' village cook Kim (Suzanne Danielle).

Since Little Botham police station is surplus to requirements and will be merged with other stations in the vicinity under the exasperated supervision of the chief constable (Eric Sykes) Cannon and Ball's jobs as policemen are on the line. After ruining the chief constable's car at the start of the film, Cannon and Ball devise a way to keep themselves employed by looking for crime to justify their pay-packet. They call on new resident Hilling (Edward Judd) and Lloyd the businessman (Roy Kinnear who had the best lines in the film) for inspiration and devise a framing operation involving theft of Lloyd's artwork but find themselves engaged in a real crime involving art smuggling and a UFO...

The film, as previously mentioned by others, was loosely based on 'Ask a policeman' featuring Will Hay and Graham Moffatt. There are similarities to the original but Cannon looked too sophisticated to rival Hay's blustering Samuel Dudfoot and Bobby Ball didn't have the boyhood charm of Albert Brown. The original film had a headless horseman sub-plot and The Boys in Blue used the same plot device but instead opted for a UFO (probably to keep the budget down as the flickering lights from the UFO seemed to reveal a police car underneath if you look carefully). However, The Boys in Blue referred more to the Headless Horseman, including the rhyme from the original film, than the UFO making the whole thing redundant if not absolutely confusing.

The problem with Cannon and Ball's roles as policemen was they didn't really fit their temperaments. I know the double act were trying to show how inept they were in their roles of authority but out of all the characters in the film (including the smugglers) it is Cannon and Ball who come across as the most aggressive, shouting and pulling each other about and Ball threatening to strangle a farmer. He was close to headbutting Cannon twice in one scene! They probably would have been better cast as the smugglers rather than the coppers.

There were various veterans of the day in bit-parts but you probably wouldn't notice them for different reasons. Jack Douglas was superintendent but played his role straight rather than use his Alf Ippititimus persona like he did in the Carry on films. Dr Who veteran and Worzel Gummidge star Jon Pertwee had a small but amiable part as a polite rascal coastguard who puts his lamp on the police station roof. Billy Burden and Arthur English have very small acting roles as sheep and pig farmers. You would barely recognise Arthur English and this leads me into my first issue with the film...

A major problem was the lack of lighting (Arthur English's role occurred in complete darkness and only knew it was him because I recognised his voice). Most of the film was set either in the dimly lit police station or in darkness and I found it unintentionally funny that you could barely see what was going on yet heard this blaring Magnum P.I type action music in the background.

The ending featured a chase between Cannon and Ball and the smugglers which was fairly identical to the original apart from the introduction of passengers that leapt on to the bus during the chase. I was quite surprised they survived as the bus collided with the smugglers car head on before the hapless duo walked off into the sunset.

The soundtrack 'The Boys in Blue' was quite catchy and those lyrics were so profound...Heh heh, a bit of sarcasm on the last bit...

"We're the boys in blue...Woo-woo-woo-woo...We're the boys in blue...Woo-woo-woo woooo..."

The film is an awful mess though despite the very low mark it is watchable in the right mood and typical of what Cannon and Ball provided for people on Saturday nights on their ITV show. I suppose the question ought to be asked why it was made in the first place unless it was just a vehicle to raise Cannon and Ball's profile (which it failed to do).

I place the film The Boys in Blue under arrest for gross incompetence. ;-)

You may need insurance before you take off with this one..., 28 December 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

On the BBC Saturday mornings during the 1980s, kids were regularly treated to Peter Maddock's cartoons ('The Family Ness' being the forerunner). The episodes were usually 5 minutes long, the animation variable and the humour was pretty light-hearted. Jimbo and the Jet Set was no exception...

The cartoon is introduced at the design department of the airport where the crew are creating a new jumbo jet for London airport. The problem being there is a mix-up of measurements during the planning process and they make it a lot smaller than planned. Due to it's smaller size, the plane is affectionately named Jimbo and is still considered useful.

Jimbo is reluctantly taken to London airport by The Chief Controller where Jimbo completes odd jobs ranging from saving an astronaut, helping explorers find valuable artifacts to flying over to Australia and picking up cargo. When Jimbo is not on duty he hangs around with his main friends Tommy Tow-Truck and Amanda Baggage. Jimbo's methods of completing tasks are either unorthodox or usually go against The Chief's wishes so, in most of the episodes, the Chief is in a constant state of anxiety, often shouting; "I want words with you Jimbooooo!!!"

The cartoon's artwork and animation is best described as cheap and cheerful and I don't believe it is better or worse than any of Peter Maddock's other stuff and I don't believe the cartoon is pretending to be anything more than it is. The artwork is simple but recognisable(often 'sound' words would come out of nowhere and lines signalling motion were evident, perhaps because Maddocks is primarily a comic strip artist?). The animation was actually quite acceptable but often jerky and wooden, using less frames per animation if it could be got away with - yet again the question of style comes into play.

I think the cartoon mainly falters because there is a narrow scope within it's format. One Chief, one slightly useful small plane and a few supporting characters along the way. Jimbo is only considered useful for small roles but the cartoon makes you believe the fictional London Airport is a one plane operation and Jimbo is fully relied upon.

Another negative point is the show's theme tune which is horrendous. I can see where the creators were going with it but the ascending pitch really grates, especially as you only get a four minute break between the intro and the ending (the end tune changed for the Christmas episode 'Jinglebells Jimbo')

There is at least one episode I recommend called 'The Controller's Apprentice' about The Chief hiring his nephew that ends with disastrous results.

Peter Hawkins is very versatile as he creates most of the male voices in the cartoon, capturing the exasperated essence of The Chief effortlessly. Susan Sheridan adds a certain playful nuance to Jimbo complete with welcome dirty chuckle.

All in all, you can do far worse things than watch five minutes of Jimbo and the Jet Set though it may depend on whether you would be watching it for nostalgia or it's artistic merit. Nostalgia covers up a multitude of imperfections and therefore Jimbo is definitely worth a look for sentimental reasons and reminiscing over wasted youth but if you are a first time flier watching it for anything more than it is you may get jet-lag.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Put your best foot forward and not keep this a secret..., 28 December 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I guess I was too old to watch The Shoe People at the time (about 8 or 9) though, despite this, the five minute episodes became a main staple of my Saturday morning TV schedule.

According to the DVD, creator James Driscoll MBE believed that looking at a person's shoes gives an insight into the wearer's personality, wondering if shoes could tell a story what a wonderful story they could tell...

The plot evolves around a rundown shoe repair shop that keeps a magical secret. The cobbler would mend shoes but the ones he couldn't salvage he would put into a spare room, not having the heart to get rid of them. As soon as he shut the door of the back-room at night and set off for home the shoes within all came to life. The shoe mender is a stable plot device that explains why all the shoes are in one place at the same time though his role lessens and finally grinds to a halt after episode 6 as we concentrate on Shoe Town itself.

The series wastes no time introducing us to the simple yet well structured world of Shoe Town and the characters. The first character we are introduced to is PC Boot. PC Boot is the local village 'policeshoe' and law and order is put across as meticulous but generally well-meaning.

The first seven episodes are a mix of slight character study and mini-adventure, establishing main characters while introducing us to lesser characters at the same time. The main characters are hot-headed Seargeant Major (army boot), relaxed Trampy (rambling boot based on Driscoll's grandfather), delicate Margot (ballerina slipper) with what I believe is her baby Baby Bootee (baby shoe), mischievous Charlie (long clown shoe) and carefree Wellington (wellington boot). Quickly we are introduced to lesser characters like Flip Flop (flip flop), Gilda Van Der Clog(wooden clog), Sneaker (a trainer), Sid Slipper (slipper) and Stationmaster Mr Potter (railway boot). There is a cowboy boot amongst them but he never gets a speaking part.

The adventures show the shoes taking part in picnics, birthdays, sledge-racing, circuses and, in general, leading independent, almost fantasy lives, from their squalid purgatory in the shoe-mender's back room.

The irresistible catchy theme tune is written and sung by Justin Hayward from The Moody Blues. Driscoll and Hayward met by chance at his next door neighbour's barbecue in St Ives.

The cartoon itself is bright, bold, cheerful and full of primary colours. The animation is pretty fluid, showing the various ways each shoe moves to their own personality. Philip Whitchurch did a grand job with his voice-over work adding lots of character and regional English accents to each shoe (even the potentially challenging Margot).

Some trivia courtesy of the DVD...

* The Shoe People was first broadcast in the UK on TVAM in 1987 on Saturday mornings and went on to be broadcast in 62 countries around the world including the USA on Nickleodeon.

* The Shoe People was the first western series to be broadcast in the former Soviet Union. Driscoll gave it to the publishers for free as a gift to the children of the Soviet Union and it went on to sell over 25 million books in the USSR.

* The Shoe People was the first out-of-house property Warner Bros had taken on.

The subject matter on The Shoe People is as relevant today as it was back in the late 80s so younger generations can enjoy it just as much as I (even at the age of 8) did back then. :-)

WrestleMania IX (1993) (V)
Creative control to Major Hogan..., 23 November 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Here are the matches...

Tatanka vs Shawn Michaels – Intercontinental title match: Decent chain-wrestling and use of side headlock to start with as Shawn gains control. Plenty of reversals and Irish-whip sequences here and Shawn scores with nice moves like a sunset-flip off the top rope and modified victory rolls. Tatanka's offence is more straight-forward with chops and axe-handles but very good with his reversals. Shawn removes the ref from the ring for no good reason and gets caught in Tatanka's fall-away slam. The ref gets back in the ring and declares the match a count-out victory for Tatanka when it probably made sense to give him a disqualification victory or just let Tatanka get the clean pin to make him look legitimate. 6/10

Steiner Brothers vs Headshrinkers: A tough match as Scott gets beaten up after getting dropped through the ropes from what appears to be a botched hotshot and Afa's interference by smacking a kendo-cane across his back. The Headshrinker's ability to withstand huge amounts of pain from their heads was consistently on display and The Steiner's power was evident throughout. Scott ends the match with a sick-looking Frankinsteiner. A typical WWF Steiner match. 5/10

Crush vs Doink: Crush dominates to start with a neck-breaker and a convincing foot rake across Doink's eyes. Doink comes back with axe-handles, an old-school pile-driver and a dropkick off the top to get Crush reeling. Crush recovers with a military press and goes for his Cranium Crusher. Doink knocks out the ref trying to escape it. Double Doink comes from under the ring and attacks Crush with an arm cast. The two Doinks look at each other and complete a convincing reflection sequence. The match was not that bad but notorious for it's debate on gimmick wrestling. 3/10

Bob Backlund vs Razor Ramon: This single-handedly buried Bob Backlund the face, who jumps around like a lame rabbit. Backlund makes a meal of his match before Razor, out of nowhere, snares Backlund in a cradle. Backlund the 'wrestler's wrestler' is defeated legitimately by a heel and wouldn't be seen on PPV again for the rest of the year. 3/10

Megamaniacs vs Money Inc – Tag title match: Everybody notices Hogan's damaged eye and the 'official' line is Money Inc beat Hogan up. Money Inc beat-down on Brutus after Megamaniacs clear the ring and decent psychology rules in the early going with reasonable old-school formula tag wrestling. Ted eventually removes the mask from Brutus's face (worn to protect him after his paragliding accident). Later on the ref gets clobbered while Brutus attempts the sleeper-hold on Ted, allowing Brutus to smack Money Inc with his mask and Hogan to drop the leg on Ted. However, the ref is still down so Jimmy Hart turns his coat inside out to conveniently show black and white stripes and counts the pinfall. Megamaniacs think they have won but another official comes out ('Dangerous' Danny Davis the official used to wrestle in 1987-1988) and award the disqualification to Money Inc. This loss meant little to Hogan as all will soon be revealed... 5/10

Mr Perfect vs 'Narcissist' Lex Luger: Both men chain-wrestle to start, Perfect works on Luger's legs and Luger works on Perfect's back (good continuity knowing Perfect already had a bad back from Summerslam 1991). Perfect comes back with a sunset-flip, backdrop, slingshot and a few near fall attempts. The end comes when the ref, who spotted feet on the ropes all through the match, counts an illegitimate landslide. Luger then smacks Perfect over the head with his 'loaded forearm' (metal inside his arm as a result of a motorcycle accident). The match lacked cohesion and chemistry and left me disappointed. 5/10

Undertaker (with Paul Bearer) vs Giant Gonzalas (with Harvey Wippleman): The late Gonzalas was formerly El Gigante in WCW sporting a flesh body suit. Both men start by choking each other. Undertaker keeps getting up from Gonzalas offence which makes Wippleman throw in a chloroform napkin in the ring and puts Undertaker to sleep causing his disqualification. Undertaker gets stretchered out and then returns to the ring. Horrendous match with some unconvincingly selling. 2/10

Bret 'Hitman' Hart vs Yokozuna – World title match: Bret goes on the attack straight away, dropping the late Yokozuna and tying his feet in the ropes. Yokozuna hits a slam and the crowd mark out for his big leg-drop which gets a 2 count. The crowd shout 'USA', ironic considering the only US wrestler in the ring was Yokozuna. Yokozuna applies a nerve-hold. Bret comes back with a bulldog off the top rope for a 2 count and uses basic aerial moves. Bret mounts punches on Yokozuna while on turnbuckles and Yokozuna desperately pulls him away, Bret hangs on to the turnbuckle padding and it rips exposing the turnbuckle and Bret sends Yokozuna's head into it. By the ropes at this point, Bret applies the sharpshooter but Mr.Fuji throws salt in Hart's eyes allowing Yokozuna to get the cheap pin in one of the quickest main-events in Wrestlemania history.

Hogan comes out and pretends to like Bret Hart. Fuji taunts Hogan and puts the belt on the line. Hogan after a short delay obliges and accepts the challenge. One big boot and leg-drop later and Hogan becomes the new WWF champion. Yokozuna held the belt for about 2 or 3 minutes! The crowd popped for Hogan's triumphant return and simultaneously sent a shock-wave of anger throughout the wrestling world, the argument being Hogan comes across as lazy after Bret does all the dirty work. 4/10

All in all, the location and pomp and circumstance was great but the wrestling severely lacked. This Wrestlemania would be important in introducing Jim Ross to the announcer's team as Gorilla Monsoon steps down but would also, sadly but probably fittingly through Hogan, be the start of the destruction of that wonderful 'magic act' known as wrestling.

Crybabies and cage crawling, 21 November 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Here are the matches...

Jake 'The Snake' Roberts vs Tatanka: What a difference a few years makes as Jake returned to the WWF ring in late 1995/1996, looking out of shape and not so over with the crowd. Roberts is usually spot on with his psychology but attempting his DDT half a minute into the match shows his complete dependence on it. Jake eventually lands the DDT after reversing Tatanka's fall-away slam move, pinning him surprisingly easy. I was looking forward to this match the most, lol. 3/10

Monster heel Vader gets interviewed, after power-bombing a referee and squashing poor Gorilla Monsoon (who seemed to sell it very well in the replay).

Razor Ramon vs 1-2-3 Kid – Crybaby match: Humiliation stipulations were popular in 1995/1996 WWF and this one means the loser has to wear a nappy. Despite most of his offence being kicks, 1-2-3 Kid does it very well, The Kid's manager Ted Dibiase throws talcum powder in Ramon's eyes giving 1-2-3 Kid the advantage which culminates in a sleeper-hold. 1-2-3 Kid looks too light for Razor to sell the submission but he goes down regardless and hulks up to crotch Kid on the top rope, both dropping to the floor to a referee 10 count. Razor completes his signature throwaway slam off the top rope and Ted tries to interfere again with talcum powder but Razor kicks it in his face and Ted sells it well. Ramon hits The Razor's Edge twice before pinning The Kid. He puts the nappy on 1-2-3 Kid and 1-2-3 Kid does an amiable job of looking peeved off. Okay, has it's slow moments but features some nice booking towards the end. 6/10

Duke 'The Dumpster' Droese vs HHH: A slug-fest starts and Droese looks pretty aggressive, throwing Helmsley around using his hair. Helmsley does a great job bumping around for people at the start of his career, doing the Shawn Michaels flip over the turnbuckles stuff! Both men brawl for a short while outside after Helmsley attempts his Pedigree, hitting steel steps. Droese eventually gets 'The Trash Compactor' but fails to pin HHH, preferring to get his trashcan and lid instead. The referee blocks Droese from bringing his trashcan into the ring but HHH gets hold of the lid and belts Droese over the head with it, almost botching as the lid flings out of HHH's hand almost in view of the ref. HHH gets the pin. Not bad as these things go and pretty aggressive for two gimmick wrestlers. Unintelligent booking ruined things but I am going for a 5/10.

Yokozuna has his first interview since coming to the WWF and nobody seems surprised that he has developed a solid American accent within 3 years...

Yokozuna vs British Bulldog: In all honesty, these big men matches are tough to watch as Bulldog spends a lot of time trying to clothesline the Sumo giant down. Yokozuna teases a Banzai drop but Cornette moves Bulldog to safety (quite funny to see Bulldog helping Yoko along with his feet as Yokozuna drags him to the turnbuckles). Yokozuna has reasonable offence, hitting a nice fall-away slam and a belly-to-belly suplex but it all ends when Bulldog's manager Jim Cornette enters the ring and tries to hit Yokozuna with his redundant tennis racket causing disqualification to Bulldog. Vader comes to the ring, handcuffs Yokozuna and both he and Bulldog beat helpless Yokozuna. Loads of officials come to the ring to make the scene look busy until Yokozuna gets convincingly crazy and clears the ring. 3/10

Shawn Michaels vs Owen Hart: The winner gets to fight Bret Hart or Diesel at Wrestlemania. This I can't quite fathom because Shawn already won his spot for Wrestlemania by winning The Royal Rumble...Oh hum...A nice tag segment starts things off but Shawn gains control attempting some various roll-ups and a nice huricanrana. Owen turns the tables with a belly-to-belly suplex, back-breaker and a neck-breaker for the 2 count. During the match, the chant 'Go Shawn Go' is heard and very cheesy for a match of this calibre. This is because Kentucky was USWA territory and that chant was made in that promotion's matches. Some near falls occur including a lovely landslide cradle type move but only gets a 2. Owen applies the sharpshooter but Michaels struggles and gets to the ropes. Shawn and Owen miss their signature kicks but Shawn lands a super-kick for the pin. After his win, Shawn dances with a little girl in the ring, similar to Springsteen dancing with Courtney Cox in the 'Dancing in the Dark' video. 7/10

Roddy Piper gets interview time being the president while Gorilla Monsoon is recovering and basically states his match decisions for Wrestlemania. Cornette comes to the ring and has a right go at Piper who in turn emphatically tells Cornette to shut up. As these promos go, not bad.

Bret Hart vs Diesel – Steel cage match: This is pretty much a slug-fest with Diesel putting his impact moves on Hart (side slam etc...) and Hart attacking Diesel's knees, confirming exactly what I said previously about working with big men. Both Hart and Diesel try to get out of the ring at various points, towards the end it looks like Diesel is going to win but Undertaker bursts through the ring canvas and takes Diesel into the ring, allowing Bret Hart to escape. The synopsis here is short because that is pretty much it. The pace of the match is leaden slow and it all follows a typical steel cage formula. Ironically, I think Diesel produces most of the wrestling moves in the match. Fortunately, the Undertaker ending was still a novelty back before these theatrics became commonplace so it gets over. 6/10

Overall, an innocuous PPV but the average main event drags it down a little. The Michaels and Hart match is a highlight.

Survivor Series (1987) (TV)
A night of upsets, 8 May 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Here are the matches . . . (adv. = advantage)

'Machoman' Randy Savage's team (with Brutus 'Barber' Beefcake, Jake 'The Snake' Roberts, Ricky Steamboat and 'Hacksaw' Jim Duggan) vs Honky Tonk Man's team (with 'King' Harley Race, Hercules,'Outlaw' Ron Bass and 'Dangerous' Danny Davis): When he enters the ring, Duggan lasts less than a minute clothes-lining Race to the outside before he is counted out along with him (4-4). Bass gets caught with a high-knee by Beefcake after a blind tag for the pin. (4-3 adv. Savage's team). Beefcake gets caught in the swinging neck breaker after getting hit in the back by Davis (a lot of outside hitting goes on at this event) making it 3-3. Davis gets planted with Robert's DDT and pinned (3-2 adv. Savage's team). Savage drops the flying elbow on Hercules for the pin (3-1 adv. Savage's team). Honky realises he can't beat three men and decides to get counted out by Savage (Honky played the best 'coward heel' ever). This makes Savage, Steamboat and Roberts the sole survivors and a nice way to start things off. 6/10

Fabulous Moolah's team (with Velvet McEntyre, Rockin' Robin and Jumping Bomb Angels vs 'Sensational' Sherri's team (with Donna Christianello, Dawn Marie and Glamour Girls): McEntyre makes short work of Christianello, pinning her with a victory roll (5-4 adv. Moolah's team). Robin performs a body cross (better than her sloppy first attempt) to get her pinfall on Marie (5-3 adv. Moolah's team). Robin is the next eliminated courtesy of Sherri, pinned after a well executed suplex (4-3 to Moolah's team). Moolah (booed all night despite being a face) gets hit by a clothesline and pinned by Martin making the sides equal at 3-3. A great moment is when the Bomb Angels bridge out of a pin but the time-keeper doesn't realise it and rings the bell, the ref plays it on . . .

McEntyre gets the giant swing on Sherri and pins her second victim with the victory roll (3-2 adv. Moolah's team). McEntyre goes to the well once too often with her victory roll as Kai bounces her off the top rope to get the pinfall making it 2-2. The Angels are too much for The Glamour Girls as Tateno pinned Kai and then Yamazaki pins Martin making the Jumping Bomb Angels the sole survivors. 8/10

Strike Force's team vs Demolition's team: Bolsheviks are the first eliminated (aren't they always?) after Santana hits the flying forearm on Zhukov for the pin (5-4 adv. Strike Force's team). Rougeau Brothers are next when Jacques Rougeau misses a body-cross and gets pinned by Ax of Demolition making it 4-4 (Raymond never got a chance to enter the ring). Demolition needlessly got disqualified when Ax beats up Dynamite Kid on his side of the ring (4-3 adv. Strike Force's team). Strike Force have to leave when Bret interrupted Tito's pin on Niedhart, allowing Niedhart to successfully pin him at 3-3. Around this point, the DVD makes an astonishing editing mistake where we completely miss Haku pin Dynamite Kid. One minute the Bulldogs are standing on the ring apron and the next they have vanished (3-2 adv. Demolition's team). Roma sunset-flips Valentine from the top as he tries to clamp the figure-four leglock on Powers making it 2-2. In what I call an extreme upset, Brunzell reverses a pin on Bret Hart to send Hart Foundation packing (2-1 adv. Strike Force's team). The Islanders do very well until The Killer B's use the mask of doom (the idea being they disguise who is the legal man) and Brunzell sunset-flips over the rope and pins Tama. The underdog Killer B's and Young Stallions surprisingly are the sole survivors. 6/10

Hulk Hogan's team (with Bam Bam Bigelow, Paul Orndorff, Don Muraco and Ken Patera) vs Andre the Giant's team (King Kong Bundy, One Man Gang, 'Ravashing' Rick Rude and 'Natural' Butch Reed): Reed becomes cannon fodder by succumbing to Hogan's leg-drop for the three count(5-4 adv. Hogan's team). Hogan hi-fives Patera after pinning Reed and the referee interprets that as a tag. Despite a strong performance, Patera showed his 'Jobber to the Stars' quality getting splashed by One Man Gang (OMG) making it 4-4. Rude manages to roll-up Orndorff after Bundy hits him (4-3 adv. Andre's team). Muraco ends Rude's misery (he gets beaten up through the match) by hitting the power slam for the pin and levelling things at 3-3. Andre nails Muraco with the head butt as he comes off ropes and OMG capitalises with a splash (3-2 adv. Andre's team). In what some would call freak booking, Hogan gets counted out fending off OMG and King Kong Bundy (3-1 adv. Andre's team). Bigelow pinned Bundy after a slingshot splash from the outside making it 2-1 and then pinned OMG after he missed a rubbish splash from the top rope making it 1-1. Andre puts a stop to Bigelow's momentum by executing the worst butterfly-suplex imaginable (actually falling over while doing it). Bigelow sells it and Andre gets the three count. Andre the Giant is the sole survivor. Hogan comes back, whacks Andre with the belt and poses for the crowd despite having lost a match that doesn't solve anything as this feud was buried at Wrestlemania 3. Bigelow was a major player even back then but was held down by inner politics within the WWF, something he would never get away from even on his return about five years later . . . 6/10

There was some imaginative booking here which was marred slightly by terrible DVD editing. The matches were consistent throughout and the main event conclusion was a genuine surprise.

King of the Ring (1997) (TV)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
One step for mankind . . ., 21 February 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Semi finals: Ahmed Johnson v Hunter Hearst-Helmsley: This is a typical HHH match around 1996 - 1997 where he used Chyna (before her plastic surgery) to help him win matches. It looked like Ahmed was going to win after delivering a scissor-kick, backdrop and spine-buster but, as typical as the WWF gets, Chyna distracted Johnson as he was about to go for the Pearl River Plunge. This allowed HHH to hit the pedigree (looks a bit different to what it does now) and sneak the pin. Nothing remarkable but an okay opener. HHH goes through to the finals . . . 4/10

Mankind v Jerry 'King' Lawler: Before the match, Foley cut a promo that involved 'the emperor wearing no clothes' but, like myself, the crowd were pretty much dead to it. The match itself wasn't too bad for a Lawler outing, giving a half-decent work-rate for once (actually seeing him do a decent dropkick!). Of course, he still felt the need to do the 'hidden foreign object in the tights' routine but aside from that some nice bumps by Mankind into the railings and a Lawler pile-driver on the outside. The match ended when Lawler attempted another pile-driver, Mankind reversed it with a backdrop, Lawler held on for the sunset-flip but got caught in the Mandible Claw and submitted. Mankind goes through to the finals . . . 5/10

Goldust v Crush: What is interesting is Jim Ross refers to Goldust as 'The Natural' Dustin Rhodes and will do the same later on for Farooq, calling him Ron Simmons, actually blowing their kayfabe characters, lol. The match ends when The Nation of Domination try to intimidate Marlena but Goldust knocks them out and gets the DDT on Crush for the pin. Poor Crush. Despite showing some great moves (including a lovely belly-to-belly suplex and a military press/gut-buster combo) he is totally wasted with this gangland gimmick that only requires him to brawl. Not as awful as the match appears on paper. 5/10

Legion of Doom and 'Psycho' Sid v British Bulldog, Owen Hart and Jim 'Anvil' Niedhart: A bit of an odd match-up where Sid is portrayed as a face though granted he still knows how to keep the psycho character in play. What is interesting about this match is the amount of no-selling. British Bulldog does a vertical suplex on Sid and Sid actually bounces back up! Hawk completely no-sells a beautiful pile-driver by British Bulldog and later on completely no-sells a double clothesline attempt by literally breaking through it. Anyway, the match ends when Owen Hart does a sloppy flying sunset-flip on Sid who is about to powerbomb Bulldog (Sid has to back into Owen for him to get hooked) to get the pin-fall - so basically the crux is Sid can jump out of vertical suplexes but is completely immobile when it comes to pin attempts - figure that one out. Hmmmm . . . 6/10

Final: Mankind v HHH: This pretty much starts off the long-running feud between these two. As a final, it is quite a slog to start with as Mankind has to sell his bad neck caused by Lawler in the previous match. At one point, Mankind gets his neck caught in the ring ropes. Mankind hits an elbow on HHH while he is in the tree of woe and crashes into railings. HHH manages to pedigree Mankind on to the announcers table (before they were like the ones they use now) and also hit by Chyna's sceptre as he tries to get back into the ring. HHH manages a further pedigree for the pin-fall to become King of the Ring 1997. Probably would have been a classic if the match was cut short by 5 minutes. 6/10

'Stone Cold' Steve Austin v Shawn Michaels: Before the match, An injured Bret Hart cuts a pretty rubbish promo with Bulldog, Niedhart, Owen and Pillman beside him. They cause a scene involving Jim Ross and Vince McMahon that makes them look stupid rather than menacing. Anyway, Austin and Michaels at this point are tag champions. The match is pretty fast-paced with multiple Irish-whip attempts, reversals and near fall attempts and Austin makes a hilarious muscle-pose imitating Shawn at one point. The conclusion arrives when Austin is reverse Irish-whipped and crushes the referee into the turnbuckle. Both wrestlers manage to use their finishing moves on each and the referees (the original and the one that comes to the ring to check on him). Earl Hebner comes to the ring by this time and declares a double- disqualification. Don't worry Austin, you two will fight each other again in under a year's time. One thing to note is don't listen to this on high volume, the amount of women squealing for Michaels in the match is nauseous. 7/10

Undertaker v Farooq for the WWF championship: It is so interesting that the announcers make such a big deal that Farooq could be the first African American man to hold the championship belt. Considering the booking is fixed already, this actually says more about the WWE than the athletes, lol. This isn't as painful to watch as it seems on paper as Farooq gets hit in the face with his own steel steps and Undertaker completing a lovely drop onto the Nation of Domination while doing the old school 'standing on the ropes' trick. It seems there is dissension in the Nation for, what appears to be no reason, causing Farooq to be distracted enough to be given the tombstone and Undertaker the pin. Farooq from here gives way to a new leader of the Nation. 5/10

Overall, a King of the Ring that deserved to be as awful as the one two years previous but, due to decent performances, was pretty watchable.

Survivor Series (1990) (TV)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Anyone love the idea of watching a Mexican gambol around in a turkey suit?, 25 October 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Here are the matches . . . (adv. = advantage)

The Warriors (Ultimate Warrior, Texas Tornado and Legion of Doom) v The Perfect Team (Mr Perfect, Ax, Smash and Crush of Demolition): Ax is the first to go in seconds when Warrior splashes him for the pin (4-3 adv. Warriors). I knew Ax wasn't a healthy man but if he was that unhealthy why bother have him on the card? This would be his last PPV. Eventually, both Legion of Doom and Demolition job out cheaply via double disqualification (2-1 adv. Warriors). Perfect applies the Perfect Plex on Texas Tornado for the pin. He then attempts the same on Warrior but Warrior no-sells it and kicks out. Warrior comes back with a splash to pin Perfect and become the sole survivor. 5/10

The Dream Team (Dusty Rhodes, Koko B Ware and The Hart Foundation v Million Dollar Team (Ted Dibiase, Mystery Partner and Rhythm and Blues): The mystery partner is The Undertaker and, on his debut, makes an impact disposing of Koko straight away with The Tombstone(Monsoon still manages to say his correct height, weight and finishing move while pretending not to know who he is) making it 4-3 to Dibiase's Team. Niedhart power-slams Honky for the pin (3-3) and his career with the WWF is over. Shortly afterwards, it is Niedhart who falls victim to Dibiase with help from Virgil (3-2 adv. Dibiase's team). Rhodes next after an Undertaker double axe-handle off the top rope but doesn't leave quietly attacking Brother Love. Undertaker goes after Dusty and gets counted out despite not being the legal man (2-1 adv. Dibiase's Team). Almost straight after, Greg gets caught in a cradle by Hart trying to put the figure four leg-lock on him and gets pinned. It comes down to Hart v Dibiase and after a few minutes of nice wrestling, Bret gets his body-cross reversed by Dibiase for the pin. Dibiase is the sole survivor. At least Hart is put to good use. 6/10

The Vipers (Jake 'The Snake' Roberts, 'Superfly' Jimmy Snuka and The Rockers) v Visionaries (Rick 'Model' Martel, Warlord and Power and Glory): After spending some time in the ring, Marty Jannetty gets power slammed by Warlord as he comes off the top rope for the pin (4-3 adv. Visionaries). Snuka gets pinned in seconds by Martel who reverses his body cross (4-2 adv. Visionaries). Michaels gets caught in the Power Plex and pinned by Roma (4-1 adv. Visionaries). It is now Roberts against four men resembling his Survivor Series effort two years before. Despite hitting Warlord with the DDT, Roberts gets counted out chasing after Martel. The Visionaries are the first team in Survivor Series history to completely survive as one. Not much here worth watching to be honest as the psychology is rushed. 3/10

Hulkamaniacs (Hulk Hogan, 'Hacksaw' Jim Duggan, Bigbossman and Tugboat) v Natural Disasters (Earthquake, Dino Bravo, Barbarian and Haku): One Bossman slam eliminates Haku early in the bout (4-3 adv. Hulkamaniacs). Duggan gets his 2 by 4 out after whacking Earthquake with it to get disqualified (3-3). Bravo commits career suicide shortly afterwards by allowing Hogan to cradle him for the pin (3-2 adv. Hulkamaniacs). Earthquake manages to overcome Bossman with two elbow drops for the pin shortly afterwards (2-2). Hogan gets beat down and FINALLY Tugboat gets a tag (who knew he was there at this point?), he wrestles for about 30 seconds before getting counted out with Earthquake. Only Hogan and Barbarian left. Barbarian puts in some nice offence but inevitably gets caught in the big boot and leg drop for the pin. Hogan is the sole survivor. 4/10

The Alliance (Nikolai Volkoff, Tito Santana and Bushwhackers) v Mercenaries (Sgt Slaughter, Boris Zhukov and Orient Express): All of the Mercanaries wore camouflage face paint. Lightning quick pins here with Santana pinning Zhukov in his last PPV in seconds (4-3 adv. Alliance). There wasn't even a Bolshevik showdown. Bushwhackers hit Sato with The Battering Ram even though Tanaka was the legal man (4-2 adv. Alliance) and would be his last appearance on WWF PPV as The Orient Express get repackaged. Tanaka follows Sato when Santana stuns him with the flying forearm (4-1 adv. Alliance). Despite Slaughter getting in the ring against four men, he eliminates Volkoff (who's career is over after this), Butch and Luke in that order with relative ease. Finally, Santana beats Slaughter by disqualification when General Adnan hits him with Iraqi flag. At last some interesting booking even though the match was awful. Santana takes the upset victory as the sole survivor and becomes his last finest hour. 3/10

The egg hatches and it's Hector Guerrerro in a silly outfit. He dances with Gene Okerlund and gets booed by the crowd while Piper and Monsoon pretend they are enjoying it.

Match of Survival: Ultimate Warrior, Hulk Hogan and Tito Santana v Warlord, Power and Glory, Rick 'Model' Martel and 'Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase: Just merely another catalogue of eliminations as Santana pins Warlord in seconds with flying forearm at least avenging his previous Summerslam defeat (4-3 adv. Dibiase's team). Dibiase stun guns Santana afterwards for the pin (4-2 adv. Dibiase's team). Hogan kicks out of The Power Plex and proceeds to pin Roma after a clothesline, effectively killing off Power and Glory's push (3-2 adv. Dibiase's team). Hogan eliminates Martel by count-out and Dibiase with the leg drop for the pin (2-1 adv. Hogan's team). Hogan finally allows Warrior into the match who quickly disposes of former nemesis Hercules after a splash. A very predictable ending to the point of nauseous. 2/10

Overall, too many matches and too little time obviously had a detrimental effect as the wrestlers were almost waiting on a conveyor belt to be pinned. Most of the heels were decimated by Warrior and Hogan which is a poor way to handle a great roster of wrestlers.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Music City Mediocrity, 23 October 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Here are the matches . . .

1-2-3 Kid v The Roadie: This is the return of a previously injured 1-2-3 Kid and he looks a little sloppy in this match as The Roadie had improved his game since King of the Ring 1995. Roadie finishes 1-2-3 Kid off with a piledriver from the top rope (he doesn't completely feel confident doing it but a gutsy move regardless). 4/10

Razor Ramon and Savio Vega v 'King' Mabel and 'Sir' Mo: Even now I am still having a hard time working out why Mabel of all people became King of the Ring. This match was to settle the aftermath of that event and, despite not being average, isn't as painful as I expected it to be. What is funny is watching Mo miss a moonsault he was never going to hit if Vega didn't move out of the way. In what I consider to be an upset, Mabel pins Razor Ramon after an avalanche and belly to belly suplex. 4/10

* Jeff Jarrett sings his country song and the commentators are suspicious of lip-synching by the end of the PPV. Jarrett is so desperate for heat it is unbelievable *

'Bam Bam' Bigelow v Henry Orpheus Godwin: Bam Bam has had his famous five minutes with the WWF and, despite the victory over Godwin, his days are numbered. Both miss moves off the top rope and, after an awful splash by Godwin, Bam Bam covers him for the pin. 4/10

Shawn Michaels v 'Double J' Jeff Jarrett: I never rated Jarrett because he had no ring presence and didn't know how to control the crowd, hoping his 'I'm the best wrestler and, whether you believe it or not that is the way it is' dialogue would excite people. However, in his defence, this is definitely Jarrett's best match in the WWF and he works well with Shawn Michaels though he is not particularly imaginative with his reversals, preferring to punch his way out of everything. The fact that Shawn can carry Jarrett through a match like this shows how good he is. What is funny about this match, scripted or not, is Vince McMahon's microphone goes off and Jerry Lawler continues on his own, laughing at Vince for a minute or so. The match ends after Roadie, believing Shawn was going to be Irish-whipped, blindly trips up Jarrett as Shawn reverses it. Jarrett, distracted by the move, gets pinned by Shawn and it would be some time before we see both 'Double J' and Roadie again. 8/10

Allied Forces (Lex Luger and British Bulldog) v Owen Hart and Yokozuna: After a typical xenophobic start, the match gets under way and, unfortunately, is only half decent when Bulldog and Owen are in the ring. Yokozuna has a weight problem and Luger realises his time is up with the WWF as he makes his way to WCW shortly after this so puts in a lazy performance. The WWF also realise Luger's time as 'Hulk Hogan Mark II' has come to a pitiful end so they let Yokozuna drop the leg on him for the pin. 4/10

Diesel v 'Psycho' Sid for the World title in a 'Lumberjack' match: This is a proper lumberjack match where 15 'friends' of each wrestler hang around the outside. If a wrestler goes out of the ring, he gets beaten up and thrown back in again which made for some mad brawling on the outside on some occasions. However, despite it all, the wrestling inside the ring is shockingly awful and ends when Diesel hits a badly executed big boot (the boot makes no contact with Sid's face at all) for the pin - how lazy can Diesel get? Even Hulk Hogan followed a boot with a leg drop. The face lumberjacks try to get positive heat for Diesel but the crowd are losing sympathy with him as the months pass. 4/10

There were two exclusive matches after the PPV (Bret Hart v Jean Pierre Lafitte and Undertaker v Kama in a casket match). The commentary is with Gorilla Monsoon and Stan Lane and they both add a nice relaxed air to the proceedings. Bret Hart carried Jean Pierre Laffitte to a 6/10 match beating him with a victory-roll pinfall and the Undertaker puts Kama in the casket for an under-average 3/10.

Overall, one match saves the PPV from becoming...Well...The same as In Your House 1 really.

WrestleMania V (1989) (TV)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Underwhelming? As Jesse Ventura would say throughout the PPV - 'Positively', 23 October 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Here are the matches...

Hercules v Haku: Hercules won his only Wrestlemania match with a belly to back bridge (which was how he lost to Ultimate Warrior the previous Wrestlemania). At this stage in Hercules's career I would consider this an upset. 4/10

Rockers v Twin Towers: The writing was on the wall for this before the match took place though The Rockers did have most of the offence (despite Shawn clearly missing a double dropkick attempt off top rope). The match ended when Akeem squashed Shawn Michaels for the pin. 4/10

Brutus 'Barber' Beefcake v 'Million Dollar Man' Ted Dibiase: What should have been a great match ended with both Beefcake and Dibiase getting counted out. A choppy formulaic encounter by both men not helped by a very weak ending. 4/10

Bushwhackers v Fabulous Rougeaus: The battering ram AND a double stomach-breaker by Bushwhackers seals the pin on Raymond (even though Jacques clearly interrupts before the count). Probably considered an upset at the time and one The Rougeaus wouldn't recover from. 4/10

Blue Blazer v Mr Perfect: Owen Hart fights under a mask against Mr Perfect and he puts up a creditable performance with reversals, standing dropkicks and a crucifix pin attempt. However, Blazer gets ensnared in the Perfect Plex. Probably would have been match of the night if allowed to continue a bit longer. 6/10

Demolition v Powers of Pain and Mr Fuji - Handicap match for the WWF tag team titles: This is another case where a handicap match means nothing because the extra member is a weak link (in this case Mr Fuji). Pretty dire stuff with the majority of the match showing Ax getting beat down by kicks, punches and clotheslines. It finally ends when Mr Fuji gets caught in the Demolition Device for the pin. 3/10

'Rugged' Ronny Garvin v Dino Bravo: For some bizarre reason, 'Superfly' Jimmy Snuka decides to make a ring entrance just before the bell starts the match. When the match starts the crowd were pretty much dead as Bravo applies the Side Suplex for the pin. Ronny gets mad and nails Bravo's manager Frenchy Martin with the Garvin Stomp. The sad fact is Garvin barely gets over doing that. 2/10

Strike Force v Brainbusters: Probably an appropriate end to Strike Force as they didn't seem in synch with each other. Martel quits the match during a tag-team accident which allows the Brainbusters to beat on him handicap-style climaxing with the spike piledriver for the pin. Martel is convincing in his post match promo and turns heel eventually becoming 'The Model'. Tito from here would spiral downwards. Okay stuff but we see better things from Brainbusters in the next PPV. 5/10

Jake 'The Snake' Roberts v Andre the Giant (with special guest referee 'Big' John Studd): What a mess! We can see Andre's health deteriorating rapidly, tagging with partners on future PPVs from here to disguise this. The match ends in disqualification in Roberts's favour though Jesse and Monsoon aren't quite sure why. The commentators suggest the disqualification was because Ted came to the ring and took Jake's snake when the logical reason for the disqualification was because Andre was beating up the ref. 3/10

Hart Foundation v Greg Valentine and Honky Tonk Man: A match showing one team rising from the bottom and another on the way down. I guess this was to gauge whether Valentine and Honky could work as the tag team 'Rhythm and Blues'. Despite the match being average, it's a shame that the Hart Foundation weren't given better competition. 5/10

Ultimate Warrior v 'Ravashing' Rick Rude for the Intercontinental title: Warrior throws Rude around like a rag-doll and there is some lovely psychology in the match. Despite Warrior's botched back-breaker that sends both men into the ropes half way through, most of the moves executed here were flawless (including Rude's scintillating dropkick off the top rope) The match ends when Warrior attempts to suplex Rude into the ring but Bobby Heenan grabs hold of Warrior's legs and Rude falls on top of him for the pin. An upset that leads to a great match at the next PPV. 6/10

'Hacksaw' Jim Duggan v Bad News Brown: After some ugly brawling both men get disqualified for using weapons in the ring. Absolute waste of time and what's worse we are treated to Duggan's running nose at the end of the match. 1/10

Red Rooster v Bobby Heenan: What a shame to call this Terry Taylor's finest moment with the WWF, rolling up an injured manager in seconds. The Brooklyn Brawler beats up Rooster after the match. 0/10

Hulk Hogan v 'Machoman' Randy Savage - WWF title match: At the start it is noticed that, despite Hogan being the challenger he came to the ring last. Egomania is running wild! Everything here was decent with Hogan even attempting a little chain wrestling while Elizabeth gets sent to the back for getting in the way. Hogan blades for no good reason and also kicks out of Savage's flying elbow, countering with the big boot and leg drop for the pin. The match was good but I didn't like how the year long angle was booked as Hogan came across as the heel. It almost buried Savage's career, taking a year and a half for him to make an impact again. 7/10

Overall, too many matches at Wrestlemania 5 (some rated less than 3 stars) with wrestlers hitting their prime but underachieving. Despite having a 14 match card, there was a banal Run DMC Wrestlemania rap and a drawn out segment of Piper's Pit that misses more than it hits (Morton Downey Jnr who?). The promos could have been cut short, some of the filler matches removed and gave more match time to Blazer and Perfect which could have been classic.

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