So I got this DVD comp of the short but sweet, late eighties, heel run of Haku and Tama, The Islanders. Wasnâ€™t totally sure what to expect going in but I was assured it was great, so I decided to dive right into it when it came in the post.
May 30th 1987 Superstars
Islanders vs. Can-Am Connection
Going into this match both teams were babyfaces, and dammit, Bruno on commentary was oh so excited about the good clean technical match we had in front of us! However something smelled fishy as Bobby Heenan came down to ringside and Jesse Ventura seemed to have the scoop. He laughed a knowing laugh and Bruno and Vince werenâ€™t happy. Then the Islanders did the greatest pop-in interview, they simply did a nice big belly laugh. Bruno: â€œI donâ€™t know what dat was allll about Vinceâ€. Of course about 5 minutes in, Haku and Tama go rudo all over the Can-Ams asses and Bobby gets in the ring and hugs them.
The first three post-turn matches are a great squash, a match against THE YOUNG STALLIONS~! and a match against Rick Martel and JYD (I dunno where Zenk went). The main thing that came out of these was how unbelievably great Tama was as a heel. Just such a total cocky prick. He was great.
August 15th 1987
Strike Force arrives! (and my sister was born, but thatâ€™s significantly less important)
So with Zenk having disappeared, Martel was out on his own in singles action (against Big Bad Barry Horowitz). The Islanders apparently werenâ€™t through with making him a sad little model, so they hit the scene and beat the crap out of him. However they didnâ€™t account for Tito Santana (who was working the Spanish broadcast) hitting the ring for the save. Tito was all fired up and Strike Force was formed!
A couple of weeks later, the Islanders squashed a couple of fools and then made their way over to the Spanish table. They had a bone to pick with Tito. A brawl broke out, the feud intensified.
October 3rd 1987 Boston Garden
Islanders vs. Strike Force
This match is gonna be known by me as the match where Tama takes the greatest bump to the floor in wrestling history. Words donâ€™t do it justice, he went flying from the ring to the floor and as he hit, he literally bounced straight over the rail into the crowd. Awesome. Martel rocked in this one too, dudeâ€™s a hell of a babyface. When he got ALL FIYYYAHHHD UP and starting pumping fists and stompin feet, I was behind him like he was fighting FOR ME dammit. Finish was kinda cool, Haku just jabbed Tito in the throat when he had the Figure 4 on Tama and then headbutted him all while the ref wasnâ€™t looking. Tama rolls over, 1-2-3.
October 16th Madison Square Garden
Islanders vs. Strike Force â€“ 2/3 Falls
NICK BOCKWINKLE IS ON COMMENTARY!!!! HOLY CRAP!!! When was he in WWF???? Anyway this was an action packed 2/3 falls match. All four guys were moving at full speed and the Garden crowd was pumped. Tama was again a freaking stud and shone the most out of everyone. The highlight of the match however was this line from Bockwinkle when Gorilla questioned Hakuâ€™s heelish tactics – â€œWhat do ya think weâ€™re doing here? Weâ€™re not baking cookies. This isnâ€™t the county fair. Itâ€™s not Grandma and Grandpa showing you the family photo albums. Itâ€™s WRESTLINGâ€. Anyway, Strike Force even the series, coming back from a fall down to win 2 to 1.
Haku vs. Tito Santana â€“ Prime Time
Good solid little singles match. Haku got DQâ€™s when Tama interfered. This led to possibly one of my favourite Gorilla and Brain interactions ever as they cut to the Prime Time studio where they debated the merits of getting yourself intentionally DQâ€™d.
Next there were a couple of squash matches which were of course greatness. SHOULDA BREAKAHH, BIG SPLASH, 1-2-3!!! Not much more to say.
Survivor Series 1987
This was of course the JUMBO SIZED Survivor Series Tag Match with 20 guys in total and believe it or not I actually didnâ€™t know how this match unfolded until I watched it here. I was pleasantly surprised to see my Island friends be the last heel team standing. They also pinned the Bulldogs clean. They were really put over strong. When the boys were left on their own, they were up against the Killer Bees and the ladies favourites Jimmy Powers and Paul Roma. They pretty much destroyed them in enjoyable fashion until the Bees pulled their switcheroo for the pin.
The Bulldogs Feud â€“ EVERYBODY GO DOGGY STEALINâ€™!
So next up is the feud and angle the Islanders are probably best remembered for. STEALING MATILDA! It all comes about after Matilda chases the Brain prior to a tag match between the teams and he has a conniption. Revenge would be had as Tama and Haku lay out the Bulldogs prior to the bell and like thieves in the night, they snatch Matilda and pull a legger. The Bulldogs give chase but theyâ€™re unsuccessful.
Next is a match between the two teams with Davey and Dynamite out for revenge. This had the awesome touch of Bobby Heenan channeling Milano Collection AT and walking an invisible dog to the ring.
The match is awesome and one of my favourites on the set. Tama once again is on fire (slapping the invisible dog!), but this may have been my favourite Haku performance so far. He was looking great. The finish kicks ass, Davey laid out Haku with the Powerslam and as Tama tried to break up the pin he got caught and powerslammed too. Davey then went beserk and did a number on both Islanders with the walker for a DQ.
Saturday Nightâ€™s Main Event March 1988
Islanders vs. Killer Bees
Not too much to speak of here. The match was really short. The best thing about it was Bobby wearing a beekeepers outfit. They did a promo with Jesse beforehand that ruled SO MUCH. Thereâ€™s nothing like a nice heel mutual appreciation society and Bobby and Jess were great for that. Oh and at one point Tama barked to mock Matilda while Haku went â€œbzzzzzzzâ€ to much mock the Bees.
Islanders/Heenan vs. Bulldogs/Koko
Unfortunately not too much to speak of here either. This was basically a pet shop in a wrestling ring as we had dogs and birds out there on their perches and stands and what not. Bobby again stole the show with his choice of wardrobe. This time rocking a full on attack dog handler suit. Jesse on commentary was cracking up legit. The Brain shockingly got the win over Koko. But then Matilda chased him down the aisle and got herself some.