Thursday, 25 March 2010

AAAAAAAAND VADER!

Vader v Dustin Rhodes (WCW Saturday Night, 11/21/92)

Great little underdog vs. monster match, which you have to expect given the participants, anyway. Vader comes into this with a bit of vulnerability to him after Sting smashed a 2x4 over his back a little earlier on the show, so you get the impression Dustin actually has a chance (this was the semi-finals of the King of the Cable tournament and Dustin had beaten The Barbarian the week prior, so it's already established he can pull out the win over a bruiser/monster). He comes out strong, more or less handing Vader his ass for a period before Vader takes over. Both guys throw some really great punches in this, stiff as Hell for the most part. I mean, Vader's always stiff, but he's throwing some BIG soup bones here. Rhodes is great at throwing punches from the bottom, landing a couple AWESOME uppercuts from his knees. Match also has one of my favourite Dustin inside-out flip bumps ever, as he gets murdered with a lariat out on the floor and takes a crazy bump on the unprotected concrete. By that point it's more or less academic, but Vader still finds time to kick him in the face before rolling him in the ring again just so he can splash him. I actually don't think I've seen their Clash match from '94, but I'm definitely looking forward to it.


Vader v Nikita Koloff (WCW Main Event, 11/29/92)

I'd say this is better than their Halloween Havoc match, but it's still nothing special. Not as good as Nikita/Hughes from earlier in the year, for example. Every time I watch a Vader match these days I find myself comparing his opponent to a type of automobile. Like, Sting would be a Dodge Charger and Brian Pillman would be a Corvette. Vader's a monster truck, and when a Dodge Charger ploughs into a monster truck, the monster truck wins. Nikita's a little bigger and stronger than someone like Sting, but fuck, he's not a monster truck. I always find it really cool how Vader will either ramp up or tone down the "collisions" with his opponents based on whether they're a Corvette, Land Rover, Fiat Pinto, etc. This is similar to the Bash match with Sting in that Nikita's having to string together some combos at the start to get Vader reeling, but Vader's content enough to hit the floor and jaw with some fans before getting back in having recovered some. And Vader, being Vader, can swings things with a couple punches. There's some sloppiness in parts and Nikita seems a little lost from time to time, but on the whole this is alright.


Vader & Rick Rude v Sting & Ron Simmons (WCW Saturday Night, 12/5/92)

I watched this a few months ago and never really dug it a whole lot, although I couldn't remember why that was exactly. This time I dug it quite a bit. It's structured almost like a hybrid of a southern tag and a Lucha trios (minus a guy on each side, obviously), each guy pairing off with the opponent they're scheduled to wrestle in singles competition a few weeks later. Rude and Simmons match-up at the start since they'll be wrestling for the World Title at the Omni on the 28th, and they have themselves a good exchange. They work it in a way that shows Simmons has the slight edge in strength and that Rude will have to find another way to beat him, which leads to him going after the leg. He makes the tag to Vader, but instead of Simmons being worked over, he tags Sting and both he and Vader get to match up for an exchange. The southern part kicks in when Sting gets overzealous and winds up having his back driven into the ring post, and from there we get Sting in peril. The subsequent heat segment is pretty good. Rude and Vader target the back and Sting sells well enough, so I can't ask for much more. Hot tag to Simmons has him going postal and mowing people down like you'd expect. Finish is sort of weird in that Simmons kinda lays around for ages while the other guys get into position before Rude hits a knee drop off the top rope, which is illegal in Watts-era WCW, behind the ref's back. Then there's some more hanging around while Rude waits for Vader to give him the tag so he can go ahead and hit the Rude Awakening and pin the champ. The spot that leaves Simmons on the deck in the first place is pretty cool, though. He takes a long run up off the ropes and careers into Vader, which results in him coming off worst (see: don't football tackle a monster truck). Vader sells it with a big "tiiiimmmmbeeeeer" bump, too, which I liked. Not among the top tier WCW tag matches for '92, but that says more about the level of tags the company had that year than this necessarily lacking anything.

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