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[1990-06-02-WWF-Superstars] Nikolai Volkoff vs Boris Zhukov

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From El Dandy, Angel Azteca, Lawler, and Dundee...to this. Yay.

 

Zhukov regales us with the Soviet anthem, then Volkoff declares he's a better singer and aims to prove it...by singing The Star-Spangled Banner. That certainly gets the crowd going but it's a pretty Frank Drebin-level rendition that's mercifully cut short by Boris (just imagine that being done today--it might get a respected road agent shitcanned or something). Boris thoroughly beats Volkoff down outside the ring and then inside the ring with his boot, which draws the DQ. Volkoff gets up and runs after him.

 

So that's the big Nikolai babyface turn. They really go all-out with this in the coming months (it was apparently something Nikolai really wanted to do after the dissolution of the USSR had begun) but this was pretty underwhelming even by the low standards set by the Bolsheviks. Zhukov's work actually was fairly heated, but the junior half of a JTTS team putting a rather dominant beatdown on his partner doesn't seem like an effective method of launching a new babyface push.

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An undercard angle that the crowd got behind because Volkoff has that nice guy charisma, kinda like Bobby Eaton with out the talent that Eaton has.

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Shit ! You know what, this is the very first angle I recall seeing on WWF TV. I remember the beatdown with the BOOT !!!!

Superstars on Saturday afternoon 5pm I think. Pro-wrestling was all brand new to me, I was 14, and I was becoming a fan. How time flies...

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I’m immediately intrigued by this match listing. Boris doesn’t sing then Russian national anthem as good. Nikolai lets us know he can sing better and belts out the USA anthem. Jesse calls Volkoff a traitor. Zhukov uses his boot to destroy Volkoff. Match was too short.

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I think this was a pretty big deal to the WWF fans of the time. Volkoff had been around forever, and was a heel the entire time he was there, so him finally going babyface and embracing the USA meant a lot to the longtime fans. Even if the days of Nikolai getting house show main events against a Hogan were long over, he still meant something. Then again, I'm biased, as much like Nikolai, I'm Lithuanian.

 

Anyway, as an angle to set up a bunch of low card house show matches, this was fine.

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This was nice to see again, but it could have been done almost unchanged on Brother Love's show. There was very little actual match content.

 

Nice to see Vince and Jesse staying in character. It figures that Vince would like Nikolai's singing now, even if it hadn't been "The Star-Spangled Banner", and that Jesse would back the Commie even though he was in the Navy himself.

 

Jesse has a point about the boots not being a classic foreign object, but I think most promotions disqualified guys who took them off and used them to beat down their opponents.

 

I think it's a sad commentary on the state of the number one promotion in North America, even with the downtime between major events, that they only have one match worthy of inclusion on this set between the air dates of April 28 and July 28 and this was it. When I can think of at least two small independent promotions that have more matches on the set between those two dates than the WWF, you know what horrible in-ring shape the WWF was in. If it wasn't for an occasional angle during the Brother Love segments, literally nothing would be happening on TV. How pathetic is that?

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On paper Garetta that's true and looks pretty damning for the WWF. However there are some extenuating circumstances you should be aware of.

 

1 - No PPV during this time, traditionally after the post mania SNME things cooled down until the Summerslam build began.

 

2 -No SNME's during this time either.

 

3 - The year prior much of the taped house shows had come to an end. Prism had dropped Spectrum shows, and NESN dropped the Boston Garden Shows. With MLG shows being very erratic on TV that left us only MSG shows.......but

 

4 - MSG was undergoing serious repairs at the time IIRC. WWF ran there at the end of April and not again until September.

 

So for matches that happened during the timeframe you give, there was only Superstars and Challenge stuff. And those weren't sweeps months except for May, which aired the IC title tournament that had been taped earlier.

 

In summary the option for where to get quality matches had completely dried up during this period as never before in the WWF.

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The feud that everyone has been waiting for! Boris sings the Russian national anthem and in case anyone was wondering who the face is here, Nikolai follows by singing the Star Spangled Banner. Predictably he doesn’t get to finish it as Boris jumps him from behind while he’s still singing. Zhukov puts the boots to him and a couple of headbutts see Nikolai take a tumble outside to the floor. Boris throws him into the steps, rams him into the ring post and then tosses him back into the ring, before taking off his boot and clobbering Nikolai with it. A bunch of referees come down to get Boris out of there and he makes sure to spit on Volkoff before he goes. Nikolai ends up regaining his bearing and charges back up the aisle and after Zhukov. No official decision is given but I’m guessing Zhukov was DQ’d.

 

Match was all the better for being kept short, but the indecisive finish means that there will be a rematch!

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