Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D, Sebastian, and other friends write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Thursday, May 06, 2021

1992 WWF Boy Scout Troop 3 Fundraiser 1/18/92

Full Show

ER: If you like the sound of a wrestling show where the wrestling is treated with as much value as the day itself, and don't mind 50% of the tape being taken up by non-wrestling, then I invite you to settle on in. This here's a recently unearthed WWF fancam of a show many of us didn't realize even happened, filmed by any old dad as more of a memorable church picnic than as a man filming a pro wrestling show. When my dad got a video camera in 1988 (the kind where the VHS tape slid into the camera itself), he quickly produced half a dozen tapes that were filled entirely with him recording the yard, doing commentary about how the yard looked, filming my toddler sister following a frog, just a grill dad enjoying his new toy while acting out his inner Terence Malick. I still know where tapes of our old Easter egg hunts and 4th of July parties exist at my folks' house, even if they haven't had a VCR to play them on in at least 15 years. This show is the closest to the vibes of those home movies than any wrestling fancam I have ever experienced.

The man who recorded this, is a man recording this event the way my dad recorded every event of our lives over a period of several years. This is not a man recording a pro wrestling show, this is a man recording his niece's wedding, his son's little league game, his daughter's school play; this tape would exist no matter what the event was. If the fundraiser had been a chili cookoff, there would be a tape of Boy Scouts Chili Cookoff and we would likely not be writing about it. But this is a WWF Boy Scouts fundraising show, and this man - I presume - is affiliated somehow with this specific Shelton, CT branch of the Boy Scouts.

Growing up, we used to have a big Harvest Festival every year with all of the 7th Day Adventist churches in our county, held in the gymnasium of a local high school. This wrestling fancam is the exact movie of my dad filming us and several other families and students on a Saturday morning, setting up for the Harvest Festival and decorating a gymnasium. This man is not worried about saving tape space for the matches, he is more concerned with documenting the entire experience, and we're lucky for it.

One of the early joys, is that it's never actually even apparent that any attendees enjoy interacting with our cameraman even in the slightest. Most in attendance don't even act as if they know who he is, let alone act socially familiar with him. But HE feels familiar to these people, and nobody appears to be startled by his presence, so we can assume he's at minimum welcome and/or tolerated. Also, among the 80 or so volunteers in the building, he is the one guy just walking around with a camera and not doing any kind of set up or physical work, so "tolerated" is probably a more believable stance.

Letting yourself get taken in by these home movies, you really appreciate the well oiled machine that is the volunteer staff of Scouts and family of Scouts, as we get to see the ins and outs of what's happening at Shelton High School on a winter Saturday. Our Connecticut Attenborough helps paint the mise en scene by mostly letting the camera do the talking, outside of segment-introducing observations such as "Lots of chairs to be set up" or "Here's another popcorn machine being set up, down at the end of this hall" or "Still setting up these chairs, 600 of them" or "Mopping the floor" or "Taking a break from setting up all these chairs?" or "Gonna sell a lotta merch tonight?" or "Hey how many chairs did you bring in the truck?" The candid interviews aren't particularly insightful, and he is not a very probing interviewer. These interviews do give us some insight into a truck that broke down that was carrying a lot of chairs, and we get some unblemished brief backstage footage that gave us more of a look behind the scenes than any "matches only" fancams have ever bothered with.

Not only do we get to see the catering spread for the wrestlers (literally just a half dozen 6 foot long party subs from Subway), but we get the Bushwhackers signing autographs for all the nerdy adorable Scouts, and what appears to be one specific family meeting the incredibly jacked Chris Walker. One of the Double Trouble members is also there milling about, and we get to see anti-drug PSAs from Virgil and Sgt. Slaughter. It's kind of amazing that this guy was allowed to film Virgil as he took several re-dos on his not great Say No promo. Slaughter cuts his with ease, salutes a local LEO ("from one Sgt. to another"), and then points directly at our camera as we fade into a packed gymnasium. Our ring announcer (who as we saw was there 3 hours early and showed up wearing a great brown leather jacket) is now in a suit looking like the coolest possible Perd Hapley, and announces that due to illness, Bret Hart would not be facing The Mountie tonight. Hart had lost the IC title to Mountie literally the night before, but the crowd is justifiably excited to find out that Roddy Piper would be replacing Hart in that IC title match.

MD: I can't add much more to what Eric's written here about the non-match footage but I will note a few things: First, I was pretty much the target age here. This was January 92. I was 10 years old. I'd watched WWF for less than two years at that point, getting into it late. I'm from the Northeast. I also had some small experiences backstage due to a friend's uncle working for Titan in some capacity. That consisted of meeting Bret backstage after his match with Barbarian in the underdwelling hallways of the Boston Garden, and then, two years later (Survivor Series 93), having a photo shoot opportunity with the Smoking Gunns and getting a free shirt. I can say that the company changed incredibly in those two years when it came to that sort of thing. This is right in the middle.

I was absolutely terrified of meeting the Bushwhackers as a kid, because I didn't want to get licked by them. This was a completely irrational but very, very real fear of mine, especially as I wandered into these backstage scenarios. I wasn't a germaphobe, but I guess I had some texture issues, and the idea of it was literally terrifying to me. They scared me as much as anyone this side of Papa Shango, what with the sardines and the missing teeth. Obviously, they're absolutely great with the kids here, even if they do lick one. Sarge has it down to a science (I caught him at a signing when I was in college and while it was a conveyor belt, he'd still find a way to engage with anyone who engaged with him). You could tell how much value he still had to the company in a show like this. It was also nice to see Sherri interacting with people, though obviously not getting mobbed like Slaughter. What really stands out though, what I will remember forever, is Virgil being completely unable to hit the "Don't do drugs" speech. I always wondered why he never got pushed more; Repo Man helps Dibiase gets the $$$ belt back a little before this and he just tumbles down the card. His liberation from Dibiase was such a huge storyline in 91 and he was legitimately over with the crowd (and he'd become surprisingly engaging destroying jobbers by the end of 92), but seeing this promo attempt makes it all make more sense.

British Bulldog vs. The Barbarian

MD: While we have a thousand Bulldog vs. Warlord matches, this is a more novel pairing. Unfortunately, we don't get much of it.

ER: We get about 90 seconds of this, nothing close to a finish, but mostly a mid match test of strength, a nice Bulldog bump to the floor, and a Barbarian clubbing forearm. But our cameraman shows a strong knack for recording wrestling, knows when to follow the action and knows when to zoom in on holds. That's a good sign. This brief glimpse of a match segues immediately into...

Beverly Brothers vs. The Bushwhackers

ER: In which Luke is biting Blake's rump, and I believe that is the start of the match. The first two minutes of this is so great, the Beverlys bumping all over for shoulderblocks and clotheslines, both taking pratfalls over the top to the floor, all leading to them smoothly transitioning to a classic cut off the ring tag match. The Beverlys look like they're having so much fun, the perfect heel team for a house show like this, the kind of time that makes a gym echo with high pitched little kid anger. Luke is just about the worst person ever at putting over offense, never falling right, barely regarding punches, but it doesn't faze Blake and Beau. Blake is dropping elbows and we get a nice cut off spot where Blake drops a falling lariat on Luke, and when we get to the Butch hot tag we get another run of big flipping Beverly bumps, with Beau bumping to the floor off a battering ram. Blake is making Butch lariats look far more powerful than they should be, and Beau expertly hooks Butch's leg from the floor, really upending him for the finish. Beverlys continue to soak up the hate on their victorious walk to the back, with Blake wiping sweat off himself and flinging at fans.

MD: This was the match that made me realize that I had to absolutely make sure Eric caught this show. If you told 10 year old me how much I'd love a Bushwhackers match like this, I'd tell you that you were crazy. If you'd tell 20 year old me, I'd tell you the same but with worse language. Every single person reading this over the age of 25 was programmed by every sheet-writing print or internet personality to hate matches like this, and it's the craziest thing in the world! Because not only is the match amazingly fun, but there's so much crafty, savvy, old tricks, put into this: the timing at the beginning where the Beverlys try to run in only to be unable to get the advantage, the fact they actually work in the hope spots and cut offs, the Beverlys working the crowd from the apron, and the bumping towards the end. Luke and Butch had this match with the Rougeaus, the Beverlys, the Heavenly Bodies, maybe even Honky and Valentine, spans of six months feuding with these guys around the horn. I'm watching this and I can feel the frustration for these kids that even at the charity show, they can't just put the Bushwhackers over here. Of course the Beverlys were happy. They had the most receptive audience possible, got to go over, and didn't even have to bump for the Road Warriors (or, if they could see their future, the Steiners).

Roddy Piper vs. The Mountie

ER: This was great. Tragically cut short by our fearless editor, so naturally we don't get the finish, but what we do get is great. Piper is such a great house show guy, and this felt like Piper with a decade shaved off his life, working like he was a Portland babyface, just an excellent school gym performance. Piper is super fired up here, and Mountie is game to work some fast exchanges with him. This would have been Mountie's first and only IC title defense after beating Bret on a house show, and it's a cool scrap. They do this great sequence that felt like a WCW Finlay sequence, with Roddy doing quick rope running and making Mountie do two quick leapfrogs, ending with Piper dropping an awesome fistdrop after Mountie drops down. Later, Mountie bails to the floor off an Irish whip, jaws with the fans, and Piper runs around ringside to punch him right in the side of the head. I wish we could have gotten the whole thing, but Mountie's heel control and Piper's crowd control made this great for what we got.

MD: We haven't gotten a ton of new Jacques over the last few years but one thing we did get was his last WWF singles match for a while, against Bret. Between that and this, I'm thinking we probably missed out on a nice long IC title run where he would have been more or less what Honky is remembered to be: a hugely entertaining, vulnerable champion with a big mouth, getting a ton of heat. Piper hits all the marks here perfectly and the fans love to see him, but Jacques is 100% on for every moment, and you buy into the stakes of it (even though it's non-title so there are no stakes) because he obviously cares so much. Even as he tries to express that he doesn't, like when he stalls and beats a ten count at the last, panicked moment. The transition point of the ref grabbing Piper's arm on punches in the corner looked great from the angle we got it, and the ref (Davis? I forget now) kept the heat off of him for the most part by being so frustrated at Jacques taking advantage. We lose the finish, but it seemed to be poetic, with Mountie trying to run one last time only to have Piper come after him. Piper got the cheap pop with the local high school shirt after the match and Jacques stayed completely on, smarmy and disaffected, until he was entirely out of sight.

Ted Dibiase/Repo Man vs. Tito Santana/Virgil

ER: Repo man actually makes some sense as a Million Dollar Man teammate, though I'm not sure it ever crossed my mind until now. We could have gotten a whole Capitalism stable with Repo and Money Inc. that would have been decried by dorks as the Worst Workrate Team Ever. And we get 5 or 6 minutes of a classically structured house show tag match, and even with guys like Repo Man in there it is so obvious how a simple southern tag structure is a much more interesting structure than the modern wrestling tag. It's a simple layout, the pros can easily hit all the beats, and the interesting ones know how to fill in the connecting stretches. Dibiase really takes it out on Virgil, laying into him with a great chop/short forearm combo in the corner that lays him out. The child heavy crowd is way behind Virgil, and Sherri is active the entire time getting into it with fans and cheating for Ted. We get a great build to a Tito hot tag, including Repo Man sneaking over and yanking Tito off the apron just before Virgil could get there. When Tito eventually gets in the building is molten, all three members of the heel squad are bumping for him, and sadly our cameraman misses the end of match Sherri involvement. We get a quick cut and the match is over, Sherri lying on the floor, and you just know Sherri took some too dangerous spill on a fundraiser show that wasn't even going to be a part of listed company history. After the match, we get some footage of Slaughter and Sherri signing autographs and shaking hands, then get a brief interview with Miss Valley, a pretty young blond wearing her pageant sash and acid washed denim romper.

MD: We lose the beginning and end of this, unfortunately, but we can see how it's laid out. I always like wrestlers with unique stances, and Darsow worked as Repo Man with a hulking hunch, even as he's coming to and exiting the ring. Dibiase does everything right here, but he's more going through the motions. We only see a bit of him, but it's obvious Darsow's more engaged. He wanted to go babyface with the character and be beloved by children. He claims to have quit in 93 because they wouldn't let him. This is the crowd for him. The heat's ultimately on Virgil and it seems ok and lets Tito come in later on with some great sweeping dropkicks when the hot tag happens, but the guy filming gets bored of it all midway and focuses on Sherri for a minute. You can't really blame him, both for Sherri's qualities and what was going on, but it's pretty funny, nonetheless. Also funny is that we miss the Sherri involvement at the end, anyway, and just cut to her being disheveled as she walks out with her losing team. A big run of Dibiase/Repo Man would have probably been better than what we ultimately got with Money, Inc.

Berzerker vs. Sgt. Slaughter

ER: I had a hunch this wasn't going to live up to my internal expectations, because how was the only recorded singles match between Berzerker and Slaughter going to do that? There is only one singles match on the books between them, and that was a 1986 AWA show in Oakland (cruelly just an hour away from me, but I was a dumb baby who didn't even know what pro wrestling was). This show is entirely off the books, and this man somehow didn't understand the magnitude of the history he was recording. The cruelty is in what we won't ever know. Did Berzerker take any big bumps? Not on the footage we have, but we have no way of knowing how much of the match we missed. What we did see was Slaughter being enough of a lunatic to take his signature bump, and I just HAVE to assume that if Slaughter is flying stomach first over the top to the floor, then Berzerker had to have at least done so twice. I had no clue Slaughter was doing that bump on 1992 house shows, and considering Berzerker was a guy who didn't let Curt Hennig outbump him, no way in hell was Sgt. Slaughter's bump going to be the only time in the match that a giant man flew to the floor of a gymnasium.

Slaughter's bump was the clear highlight, but I loved Slaughter dropping Berzerker crotch first on the top rope, because as we know Minnesotans are the best in pro wrestling history at selling their butt and balls. So Berzerker gets bounced on the top rope by Slaughter, then rolls to the floor and massages out his sore balls while still Hussing in the faces of children. I love this man. Berzerker also had a fun diving punch to Slaughter's balls, which made a ton of sense as payback for Slaughter's prior ball torture. The finish left a lot to be desired, with Berzerker arguing with the ref and leaving himself open to a schoolboy, but the match was filled with joy. I wish we got a shot of Berzerker signing autographs for Scouts after, just because I needed to see how huge Berzerker was while standing next to some kiddos.

MD: Bit of a reverse structure on this one as Nord stooges early with groin based stuff, working big as always, but maybe showing a bit more ass, to the point that he had to hit a low blow to take over. Sarge's corner bump out of the ring looked great and good on him for breaking it out given the setting. I imagine no one does it now because it defies physics, but it's a great bump and people would be into it. Nord worked the ref and the crowd and his stuff all looked credible, and Sarge is capable at garnering big sympathy so everything worked. I would have just liked to see a little bit more of it due to the clipping. Sarge took the win with a shoolboy out of nowhere, which was kind of a shame as I wanted to see Nord bump all over the ring for his comeback. Not the match I wanted, but perfectly fine as the match we got.

Orient Express vs. The New Foundation

ER: Strong house show tag, the opener of the next day's PPV, but a match that felt like a main event. Kato was really good at riling up the crowd, and the fans were way more into Owen than I realized in 1992. My favorite was a kid screaming for his attention during their entrance, wanting nothing more than to touch Owen's hand. Orient Express were unsurprisingly big bumpers, both whipping over on Owen's armdrags and taking hard ring bumps for Neidhart's shoulderblocks and lariats. Owen was super active, doing a bunch of double dropkicks and crossbodies, really felt like he was zipping around. Neidhart comes off like a real force with an almost Masa Saito presence, but he is also someone who will grab a chinlock out of absolutely nowhere, which is always so odd to see from a babyface. Tanaka was either really gassed and Neidhart was doing him a favor, or Tanaka was great at putting over the damage of a Neidhart chinlock. Still, the crowd was into all of this and again, it felt like a main event on a show with some pretty impressive star power. This was a great crowd, but obviously a crowd with 80% or more children in attendance is going to be a great crowd. Kids are the greatest wrestling fans possible, and a hot crowd made up of tiny excited screaming kids just hits differently, makes you remember the best parts of pro wrestling. 

MD: Cliff notes version of their Royal Rumble 92 match: no Fuji, shorter all around, and weirdly, less Owen working the crowd with clapping or stomping. Some sequences were exactly the same, including Owen's bridge up, springboard backflip, rana bit, and the finish with the dive and rocket launcher. I liked the hot tag here, which wasn't so much a tag as just a frenetic burst of motion as Owen zoomed across the ring until Neidhart was ready for the slingshot. The crowd was into all of it: Owen's flashy moves, Neidhart's size, energy, and charisma, the Express beating down Owen as Neidhart got increasingly frustrated, and the comeback, but it was missing a bit of a spark I was expecting given the setting and the rest of the show.

ER: And with that, we brilliantly close with a fleeting shot of Ted Dibiase, sitting backstage wolfing down a section of those Subway party subs we saw earlier, wearing the brightest purple Zubaz pants and a gym shirt that looked like a girl's blouse from Urban Outfitters. It was arguably the great wrestling fit I have ever seen. What an incredible coda to the most unique wrestling fancam I have ever seen.


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