This Week In WWE Vintage Collection History: Very European
By Aaron Wood Jul 8, 2012 - 4:35 PM
TweetVINTAGE COLLECTION #214 Mean Gene (and his array of flags) opened the show as he noted we'd be looking at Superstars hailing from the continent of Europe, with our main event being "one of Finland's finest" (as if it could be a number of people) looking to knock off a seemingly unstoppable opponent. However, we'd be starting with someone who was one of a kind, given that he stood at 7' 4" tall and weighed over 500 pounds. The Frenchman, Andre The Giant. And here, Andre would be facing Russia's Alexis Smirnoff (who was really a Canadian named Michel Lamarche) in a match that took place in St. Louis and ended up on an episode of Superstars Of Wrestling. However, some digging, records show that the match took place on June 15th 1984 and aired on July 15th. However, both Okerlund and the caption on screen shortly thereafter claimed that the match was on August 20th 1985.
After the break, Gene set up our next match, which would see Germany's Alex Wright in action, mentioning how his nickname was Das Wunderkind. And while early title shots would prove unsuccessful, he would be getting another shot at a belt, this time Chris Jericho's Crusierweight Title, the match taking place on WCW Nitro on July 28th 1997.
We went right to our next match after the break, coming from the WWE Velocity episode of May 29th 2004 as two men with, as Gene described it "ancestral connections to Italy", in Nunzio and Johnny "The Bull" Stamboli of the FBI took on Paul London & Billy Kidman. We joined things part way through with Kidman and London in control, with Josh Mathews and Bill DeMott making the call. London hit the "Mushroom Stomp" on Stamboli, with Mathews, rather musically, making the reference to it's name. However the FBI soon took control. The heels did a rather stilted and pointless sneak attack on London (who hadn't made a comeback) and worked London over as Josh talked about Paul Heyman coming back, as part of the angle with The Dudley Boyz and The Undertaker, as Bubba & D-Von had kidnapped Paul Bearer on Smackdown.
However, when Nunzio missed a knee drop and an elbow drop, Kidman managed to get the tag in, going to work on both men, working a spot with Nunzio in the ropes that eventually saw Stamboli kicked by Nunzio. Kidman hit the BK Bomb and went up for the Shooting Star Press, but as Nick Patrick was dealing with getting London out of the ring, Johnny The Bull knocked Kidman down with a loaded shot (as Johnny put his weapon back down his trunks) allowing Nunzio to get the pin.
Up next, it was time to take a trip to Mother Russia as we would see some tag team action with The Bolsheviks of Nikolai Volkoff (a real European, albeit one born in the-then Yugoslavia) and Boris Zukhov (about as Russian as Canadian Bulldog), as they would face a team, oddly enough, featured last week, in The British Bulldogs. This match took place on July 23rd 1988 at a live event in the Philadelphia Spectrum.
It was main event time next as we came back to a hype video for Ludvig Borga vs. Tatanka before cutting to a pre-taped promo by Borga where he vowed to end Tatanka's career. We jumped right to the match which took place on the Superstars episode of October 30th 1993, taped the month prior.
Gene said one of the longest and memorable winning streaks came to an end in a shocking way at the hands of Ludvig Borga. And while he didn't last long in the WWE, he certainly made an impact. Gene signed off the show, giving the hint that next week, we'd be looking at Samoan, as he used one of Rock's catchphrases.
Epilogue At that point in hsi career, Andre was feuding with Big John Studd over who was the true giant in wrestling. The feud hit it's peak in December of 84 as after a tag team match where Studd & Ken Patera defeated Andre & SD Jones in a tag match, the heels proceeded to Andre's afro. Andre first got his revenge on Patera and then at the first Wrestlemania, Andre bodyslammed Stuff in a $15000 Bodyslam Challenge.
Alex Wright successfully defended the Crusierweight Title at Road Wild against Jericho, but would drop it back to Y2J on an August episode of Saturday Night. But that would not be the end of Wright's title successes as just 5 days later from this, he won the TV Title from Ultimo Dragon at a Clash Of The Champions. Again, Wright would successfully defend the title in a rematch at Fall Brawl, but shortly lose the title, this time to Disco Inferno on Nitro.
Funnily enough the two almost-entirely fake European teams didn't get much of a run after their featured matches. By this point in this carnation of the FBI, it was just Stamboli & Nunzio, and they never received much of a push before Stamboli was released in November 04, along with former paisan, Chuck Palumbo, who had been drafted to RAW by this point.
Meanwhile, the ruskie Bolsheviks would feature at Survivor Series in a losing effort the Powers Of Pain and then the 10-team Survivor Series match thast November, again on the losing side of it, and eliminated early. And while they spent a lot of 1989 in the lower card, notably in a feud with The Bushwhackers, they wouldn't make another PPV appearance until their final one together at Wrestlemania 6, losing to The Hart Foundation in 20 seconds.
Ludvig Borga would team at Survivor Series against Yokozuna (hence the context for Fuji being out there), Quebecer Jacques and Crush under the name "The Foreign Fanatics" against the "All Americans" of Lex Luger, The Steiners and Undertaker, a match that Borga won for his team in beating Luger to become sole survivor. However, not long into the following year, he broke his ankle in a match against Rick Steiner, and left the company soon after, when plans for him had to be shelved.