Defrost Reviews – Women of the WWF

What is going on in wrestling right now that would make for perfect clickbate reading material? Ah, yes NXT! Okay then what about NXT? What is everyone talking about? Eureka! The women. There is a revolution going on I hear. Couldn’t tell from watching Summerslam or Raw. Now call me a cynic but it ain’t much of a revolution if you’re still called a diva. And the old regime is taking credit for your work. And the fans do the wave and chant, “We Are Awesome!” during your matches. Well it could be worse. The woman in charge could make herself champion for thirty years, blackball anyone that might be a threat to her, and force her wrestlers into prostitution. Now there’s just whining on twitter. Who says wrestling isn’t progressive these days?

Wrestlemania (Madison Square Garden)

WWF Ladies Championship

WWF Ladies Champion Leilani Kai (w/Fabulous Moolah) vs Wendy Richter (w/Cyndi Lauper)

The biggest women’s match in the history of the WWF is the semi main event of the first Wrestlemania. Other than maybe something involving Mildred Burke it is almost assuredly the biggest women’s wrestling match in history outside of Japan.  Make no mistake about it after the stuff with Mr T, Piper, and Hogan, yes in that order of importance; this is the second strongest match on the show. Richter vs Kai was the only other match on the show with the strong MTV push. It had the backing of David Wolfe through Lauper and it was Wolfe who was responsible for all the major celebrity appearances during the brief rock n wrestling era. This match was a huge deal.

Now as for the match itself. It’s short. As are all of the matches at the first Wrestlemania. There are some obvious strengths and weaknesses right off the bat. Striking very much a weakness. The punches are brutal to watch, and not in a Geno Smith’s jaw kinda way. The stuff on the mat is by far the stronger area for Kai and Richter. Whatever you want to say about athletic ability and whatnot back in the day the wrestlers tended to be strong on basics. These two are not incompetent just limited athletically. A comical amount of hair pulling is a testament to that. There is one spot that needs to be talked about. Richter gets Kai into a fireman’s carry. Looking like she’s going to go for an airplane spin. Instead Richter just slams the hell out of Kai. Like slams her harder than every AA or FU or whatever initials move John Cena has ever done. Maybe harder than all of them combined. It comes out of nowhere. Got a helluva pop out of me. She doesn’t sell it at all, but still. They got a bit too ambitious with the finish, but it was a the biggest match of their lives so I can’t hold it against them. In the end as long as they weren’t throwing punches this was perfectly fine.

Result and Rating

Wendy Richter defeated WWF Ladies Champion Leilani Kai via pinfall at 6:14 reversing a crossbody. Wendy Richter won the WWF Ladies Championship  (Star Rating: *)

High Flyers (Philadelphia Spectrum)

WWF Women’s Tag Team Championship

WWF Women’s Tag Team Champions The Jumping Bomb Angels vs Glamour Girls(w/Jimmy Hart)

Coliseum Video. High Flyers was the second wrestling tape I ever owned, and I watched this match on that VHS tape. Thankfully I never threw out that old DVD/VHS player. All of that Harry Knowlesesque backstory is just to warn that there might be some nostalgia goggles on for the viewing and review of this match.

The Glamour Girls were the combination of a bleached blond Lelani Kai of Wrestlemania fame and her grandmother Judy Martin. They’re part of Moolah’s troupe.

The Jumping Bombs Angels were the combination of Noriyo Tateno and Itsuki Yamazaki. They both started off as singles wrestlers in AJW before tagging a bit, including winning the tag titles, before coming to the WWF.

So to start off Shawn Mooney thinks all Japanese people look the same, and Lord Al Hayes not so subtly implies he has slept with Norio Tateno. Rousing start here. You’d think there’d be a styles clash here, but this really works. You have the Glamour Girls playing the chicken shit cheating 1980s heel tag team against the plucky babyfaces with the awesome moves that pop the crowd. It helps that Martin and Kai bump their asses off for the Jumping Bomb Angels. The match is worked more Japanese style than American style. For instance Jimmy Hart, the manager of the Glamour Girls, doesn’t interfere nor is there the ubiquitous spot where a hot tag is made and the ref misses it. Not to mention going by previous reviews I’ve done of phoned in Coliseum Video matches this is kinda on the high end. Or nostalgia glasses. As a matter of fact there is an experiment that can be done to find that out.

The WWF Women’s Tag Team Champions The Jumping Bomb Angels defeated The Glamour Girls at 8:01 when Tateno pinned Martin with a rolling cradle. (Star Rating: ***) The Jumping Bomb Angels retained the WWF Women’s Tag Team Championship

Royal Rumble 1988 (Copps Coliseum)

2 out of 3 Falls/WWF Women’s Tag Team Championship

WWF Women’s Tag Team Champions The Glamour Girls (w/Jimmy Hart) vs The Jumping Bomb Angels

Here’s the experiment to prove or disprove the nostalgia goggles theory.  I’ll go back to the match where The Jumping Bomb Angels took the titles at the first ever Royal Rumble. This will be a much longer match given the 2 out of 3 falls stip. Doing this backwards for once might be interesting too.

Vince McMahon, the promoter, has no idea what the names of the Jumping Bomb Angels are. He’s calling them pink and red. Stellar. Even Mooney knew their names even if he couldn’t tell them apart. Vince is totally embarrassing himself on commentary during an amazing first fall. A fact which Jesse Ventura is relishes pointing out repeatedly. The pace these four are going at early on is frankly shocking and makes me think my point about athletic ability was less a point to be made about certain wrestlers in the 1980s, and more that Wendy Richter was just really bad and holding Leilani Kai back. The first fall ends with a move I’ve seen called an Alley Oop when creating a move set in video game where you get your opponent up in a powerbomb position and then throw them backwards onto their face. Again I’ve watching a frankly unhealthy amount of wrestling in my life and my frame of reference for this move comes from the Nintendo Gamecube. I apologize for calling Judy Martin a grandmother. I love this feud.

Onto fall two and the good news is someone told Vince the Angels’ names. The fall starts off hot with Kai going back and forth with Tateno. Seriously how bad was Wendy Richter? This is awesome. They wrap this fall up quickly for obvious reasons. No one expects this to go 2-0. Plus I already watched the rematch so I know who wins anyway. Things slow down, and get a bit sloppy in the third fall. I think they may have over shot their target on the pace they were going because they look a bit blown up. Well Judy Martin looks a lot blown up sucking air actually in the corner actually. For the first time The Glamour Girls go to the heel tactics. Getting one of the Angels in the corner and double team her. Chokes behind the ref’s back. Those kinda things you’d expect from a tag match in the 1980s. And now for those of you who have been following New Japan the last few years we get a similar styles series of near falls. I love this match. I love these teams. Oh my god did Wendy Richter blow. When the Angel’s hit the Double Dropkick off the top to take the titles the crowd loses their mind. The kinda pop where if it happened today I’d have to deal with people saying The Jumping Bomb Angels were as popular as Steve Austin. Go watch this. Watch it now.

The Jumping Bomb Angels defeated the WWF Women’s Tag Team Champions The Glamour Girls at 13:56 after a Top Rope Double Drop Kick in the third fall. The Jumping Bomb Angels won the WWF Women’s Tag Team Championship.(Star Rating: ****)

Summerslam 1994 (United  Center)

WWF Women’s Championship

WWF Women’s Champion Alundra Blayze vs Bull Nakano (w/Luna Vachon)

What is Alundra Blayze? My best guess is when the WWF brought in Madusa from her run with Paul E. in WCW they just gave her the instruction to be a blank slate babyface ace of the women’s division. This is going to be a bizarre comparison, but it sorta reminds of Finn Balor nee Prince Devitt’s first reign as IWGP Jr Champ. All he was asked to do was hit the ring and be the babyface ace of the division. Language barriers and lack of promo ability meant that Devitt had to do all his work in the ring. Which he was amazing at and exuded a charisma and likability. Much better heel though. Plus in Japan being a good looking white dude who has awesome matches can get you super over. Being vanilla in Vince McMahon’s cartoon show? Not so much.

Bull Nakano is one of the greatest wrestlers, male or female, of all time. When the top women’s stars in Japan, the Crush Girls, retired Nakano was pushed as top star and World Champion for almost three years helping to push the Joshi boom in the 1990s. Ageism in Joshi led to her traveling the world wrestling in many countries including this run in the WWF. She would eventually became a pro golfer on the LPGA tour.

Bull Nakano beats that woman like she owed her money. I can’t say that the match is all that good, but it was a fun mauling to watch. Finishing sequence is great. That’s really all there is to it. Nakano smashes Blayze for about 6 minutes then you get a fun 2 minute back and forth. Not much to talk about on this one.

WWF Women’s Champion Alundra Blayze defeated Bull Nakano via pinfall at 8:20 with a Bridging German Suplex. Alundra Blayze retained the WWF Women’s Championship. (Star Rating: **1/2)

Survivor Series 1995

Team Blayze (Alundra Blayze, Kyoko Inoue, Chaparita Asari, Sakie Hasegawa)  vs Team Faye (Bertha Faye, Aja Kong, Lioness Asuka, Tomoko Watanabe)

This was supposed to be the start of something.  The WWF was going to bring in wrestlers from All Japan Women, a promotion that at the time arguably had the best wrestling in the world, to feud with Alundra Blayze. However, Aja Kong and Chaparita Asari worked a match on Raw that was so violent it freaked everyone in the company out. That caused the political conditions to kill the whole deal, and would lead directly to the WWF Women’s belt being thrown in the trash on Monday Nitro.

Movez! They got next to no time, but damned if they weren’t going to get their shit in. Have you ever seen a Sky Twister Press utterly no sold in the first thirty seconds of a match? Well you will if you watch this one. Moves, no selling, and quick pins from out of nowhere. It’s a spectacle if nothing else. Then it gets down to just Blayze and Kong, and I had hope. Shouldn’t have. Very sloppy three minutes from these two. Don’t watch this match. Somehow this collection of talent pulled off a worse match than Wendy Richter. Watch The Jumping Bomb Angels and Glamour Girls instead.  As a matter of fact…

Team Faye defeated Team Blayze at 10:01 when Kong eliminated Blayze (Star Rating: *)

Survivor Series 1987

Team Sherri (Sensational Sherri, Judy Martin, Leilani Kai, Dawn Marie, Donna Christanello) vs Team Moolah (Fabulous Moolah, Noriyo Tateno, Itsuki Yamazaki, Rocking Robin, Velvet McIntyre)

Hoping to get some more Jumping Bomb Angels/Glamour Girls goodness here. My first observation is that Donna Christanello looks like a meth addict. Finally after 5 minutes of whatever we get Angels vs Glamour Girls. Should be noted that this is two months before the 2 out of 3 falls match and unlike Vince McMahon it seems Gorilla Monsoon actually knows their names. Monsoon loves them too. He and Jesse are putting them over like crazy. Ha, Moolah gets booed every time she gets tagged in. Good. All of the other women are ruining this. Just eliminate everyone else and give the Glamour Girls and Jumping Bomb Angels like 8 minutes. Oh god the time keeper rang the bell without the ref telling him to. Writing this right after Summerslam 2015 that’s hilarious. Yes! After an awesome move by Kai, seriously Wendy Richter what was your problem, we are down to Glamour Girls vs Jumping Bomb Angels.  As expected this match has gotten great all of a sudden. The perfect setup to the title match at the Royal Rumble. The best way to put this one over is the crowd. There was an obvious anti Japan  go USA vibe at first even though the Angels were faces. By the end of the match the crowd goes nuts when they win. Bottom line skip all of the none Angels vs Glamour Girls stuff, but watch them. Just like in general really.

Team Moolah beat Team Sherri when Martin was pinned by Yamazaki after a top rope clothesline. (Star Rating: **1/2)

What have we learned today?

To quote The Rainmaker Three Things

  1. Jumping Bomb Angels vs Glamour Girls is the greatest feud of all time
  2. Alundra Blayze is the first coming of Prince Devitt
  3. Wendy Richter really sucked. Like maybe the worst wrestler ever.

And that wraps this one up. Thanks for reading. I’ll be back next week with… something.  Not sure my computer just blue screen of deathed me so it’s up in the air. Just put up in X in the old mystery opponent slot. See you then.

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