This was a pretty good presentation by the folks at the Stamford Archive footage offices. My only complaint about the feature is that it barely scratched the surface in an hour and a half and Piper certainly deserved more in depth time than that. He had an amazing career, certainly and the DVD highlighted that pretty well. One of the best points driven home in the release is that Piper never needed a manager, or a title to become a popular star and a household name. He just had this magnetic appeal, even when he was a heel, that forced people to keep their eyes on him when he was in front of them. Another point that they contradict is that Piper is unpredictable and a very honest guy, yet he seemingly stumbles over his words about the HBO interview. You see McMahon freeze up when they ask him to comment on Piper's accusations and for that, Piper even seems to chastise himself on his own video. That was unnecessary in my opinion. But, let me get to the meat of this review and what you all came to read, the matches:
1) Piper/ Mike Popovich v. Buddy Rose/ Rip Oliver- 0
Okay, nothing really happened in this match, at least that we got to see. The match starts pretty deep into the match, and then it ends in 30 seconds followed by a really early Piper promo. Next.
2) Piper v. Buddy Rose (2 out of 3 Falls, Portland)- 3
The "Playboy" was a thin dude at one time. That didn't last long. He and Piper have a fisticuffs that really doesn't excite me. Rose has some ridiculous facials in this match though. The 3 falls stip didn't seem necessary because there wasn't any kind of good structure to the match nor was it particularly dramatic.
3) Piper v. Jack Brisco (NWA studios, US Title, 07/07/1982)- 6
Now, this is what i call wrestling! You had Brisco, who looked like a handsome, hump-less Quasimodo and the big heel, Piper, in his Scottish tartan trunks. These guys worked side headlocks and takedowns throughout the whole bout. It was really refreshing. Every little punch meant something but Brisco was guilty of some no sells during most of the match. Piper had a really varied offense and you could tell he was soaking in knowledge against this ring great.
4) Piper v. Greg Valentine (Dog Collar Match, US Title, Starrcade '83)- 8
This is a fight. I said, THIS IS A FIGHT! Man, what a brutal battle this match is. Hands down the best Dog Collar match ever attempted. This is just pure brutality all the way from start to finish. Piper is brutal with the chain and Valentine just pummels Piper's ear until it bleeds enough to soak the mat in 20 differen places. This is everything it was 24 years ago, and remains a classic today. This match also had a great story, with Valentine targeting the already injured ear to get the win. The Collars and chains were really vicious and Piper's maniacal facials told a lot of the story. Valentine's elbows are deadlier than a machete. The only thing that brings this down is the finish; Piper basically just gets tired of pummeling Valentine and covers him. Really lazy finish, but the whole thing is a nice big kick ass package nonetheless. Anyone who has not seen this match needs to turn off American Idol, put down their Wendy's Double Cheese and go locate this immediately!
5) Piper/ Paul Orndorff v. Hulk Hogan/ Mr. T (Wrestlemania 1)- 5
The crowd was really amped for this one- Main event of what will become the biggest sports entertainment spectacle of the year, Wrestlemania. Hogan and Piper contend that each of them were responsible for selling out this show, yet during the match, they don't play up to Hogan wanting to kill Piper and the crowd doesn't pop as much for Hogan as they do when Mr. T is in there. Even on the buildups to this show, it seems like it was made to feature a Piper v. T feud, and Hogan is merely a background player. Anyways, Hogan works really well with both heels, especially Orndorff and they set a really good pace. The faces have great comebacks and Piper keeps the crowd worked into a frenzy. One thing working against this is the amount of people involved. Both teams have seconds, and there are 2 ref's (Patterson and Ali) then you have random celebrities involved at ringside. The match breaks down several times and i get pissed. "Work a fucking armbar, Orndorff and quit worrying if Captain Lou's playing with his rubber bands!"
6) Piper v. Paul Orndorff (SNME, 10/05/85)- 4
Orndorff sells big for Piper in this grudge match and makes a face like the first time he saw Paul Roma deep throat a popsicle. I had high hopes for this one, thinking we would see a real bloody knuckles scrap, but they kept it pretty basic. Piper's sell of a clothesline plagues this DVD with ineptitude and he looks like a background character from Roger Rabbit. Orndorff gets points for a great piledriver, but this wasn't intended to bring down the house.
7) Piper v. Mr. T (Boxing Match, WM 2)- n/a
This wasn't technically a wrestling match, so i really didn't know how to rate it. I just enjoyed laughing at T's fake wrestling punches and Piper's fake boxing punches. I think i saw Joe Frazier sneak out the back door, while laughing " I got my check, Mother F*****! Haha!)
8) Piper v. Iron Sheik (SNME, 10/04/86)- 1
This was shorter than an Edge World Title Reign. Piper basically bitched out Pedro Morales (who walked away like a scolded boy who was looking through his Viewmaster at the Sports Illustrated Bikini Issue reel) then rolled up Shiek and pinned him. I give this one point for Piper stiffing up the old Iranian man-fucker.
9) Piper v. Bob Orton Jr. (SNME, 11/29/86)- 2
This was short and unmemorable. Orton is a damn fine technician but there wasn't anything for him to do here. This was pretty short, although it seemed to have potential. Both men traded some good punches.
10) Piper v. Adrian Adonis (WM 3, Hair v. Hair)- 3
The crowd was melting for Piper and it's always amazing to see this enormous crowd on DVD. That said, what a really awful match. Adonis was bumping like a fiend for Piper, but when he got on offense, i think he put 83,000 to sleep. The ending spot with the clippers and Beefcake's involvement only hamper this dud even quicker.
11) Piper v. Hulk Hogan ( 02/15/85, War to Settle the Score)- 3
This match had tons of heat too ( becoming a theme with Piper) They started this out the right way, with both guys going full steam ahead at each other. Both men's strikes were pretty good but neither man was very masterful at taking bumps for the other guy. Piper sold an atomic drop like it was instant death and i really enjoyed that part. Unfortunately this match had tons of interference and didn't even have a finish. They did manage to put together some near falls close to the end, but i was already looking forward to the next match.
12) Piper v. Rick Rude (Steel Cage Match, 12/28/89)- 6
The old Blue Bars were Back, Baby! Rude was in phenomenal shape and juiced early and often. Rude was a great worker and even managed to make Piper's dwindling offense look credible. Way too many ass shots for me, they kind of wore that spot out. Rude come off the top of the cage in a really unspectacular fashion with a knee drop that looked like a flying stumble, but Piper sold it like a champ. They had a really cool false finish where they both got out at the same time and they had to go back in and finish the match. Heenan on the outside was gold, except for botching the cage door being slammed in Piper's face. There were some miscues but both men fought hard and earned the well deserved Milwaukee's Best and plate of Ribs and Slaw after the match.
13) Piper v. Bad News Brown (WM 6)- 2
Wow, the less said the better. This was when Piper painted half his body black. People commented on the DVD that they had no idea why he did it or what he was trying to say, but who cares? It was a legendary moment. Pipe said he was trying to be Michael Jackson and evidenced it by using a white, leather glove during the end of the match. Both guys basically just threw strikes the whole time, with Bad News selling even less than Piper. I'd rather seen a sequel to BioDome.
14) Piper v. Bret Hart (WM 8, IC Title Match)- 7
Okay, this is as good as i remembered. An absolutely amazing encounter between two great friends. This was at Mania 8, in the Hoosier Dome, which has a great look. Bret and Piper were friends but had a rivalry that was all about business. Piper showed in this match that he could actually work and he did just that with Hart. They didn't do much technical, a few armdrags and such, but it looked competent. Both guys had awesome strikes throughout and some great near falls. Piper reverted well back to his heel role but didn't carry it over too far. Hart bled after a stiff right uppercut and then opened it up even more with a crazy bulldog. Piper fought his conscience by not using a ring bell to knock Bret out and it cost him him after Bret wrapped him up in a finish that has to be seen to be believed. One of Mania's greatest finishes in my book and wiped Piper's 17 year streak of never being pinned to the mat. This match helped catapult Bret into the stratosphere and both guys gave a great show.
15) Piper v. The Mountie- See Royal Rumble 92 Review(12/16/07)
16) Piper v. Goldust (Hollywood Backlot Brawl, WM 12)- 5
The Backlot portion of this was stiffer than Jack Nicholson watching the Laker Girls. You had a Gold Cadillac, a fire hose, a baseball bat, and some mustard all combined with Piper getting hit by a car and puching Goldust directly in the head numerous times. It is truly a spectacle. The whole OJ Bronco chase scene is even more ludicrous re-watching it now and the in ring stuff really exposes Piper's capabilities as a worker, but they keep it entertaining, including Piper being kissed and returning the favor before he strips Goldust down to his S & M outfit. It looked a little small, presumbly because his was in the cleaners so he borrowed Vince's. This is worth seeing.
17) Piper v. Hollywood Hogan (Starrcade 96)- 2
Damn, you almost hate to watch this. As much as they build Piper up the whole DVD, it only takes this match to discredit him. First off, these two should not have been wrestling for 16 minutes. Neither man can go that long and neither man had anything to do with the other that would have been worth watching. Hogan retreated a lot, and just sweated like a piece of bacon on a Foreman Grill. Piper seemed to have more stamina but there was a point in the match when both men were just falling over each other and didn't have the stamina to get up. The Giant came in for his token botch of the show as Hulk and Virgil dispensed with an angry fan. Piper won with a weak sleeper and i awoke in a pool of vomit from a dream i had that Piper and Hogan had this really terrible match at an old WCW ppv. Yeah, it's not a nightmare like i thought either.
Mass Props to the Hot Rod!