Tuesday, 31 August 2010


Was gonna talk about this yesterday but never got around to it, so I'll go with a double dose today since this is nice and short anyway.

Arn Anderson v Brad Armstrong (WCW Main Event, 4/12/92)

Super cool little match that I didn't remember being as good.

Basic gist of it is as follows: Arn wants to take Brad's arm home with him; Brad wants to take Arn's leg home with him; they go about making that dream a reality for a little under ten minutes. Arn wraps Brad's arm around the ring post early and goes to work on it, then a little later Brad wraps Arn's leg around the ring post and goes to work on that, and both guys' focus largely remains on the body part for the whole match -- they'll go back to it to bail them out of trouble and they'll work it when they're on top. Actually felt like the Ohtani/Samurai match from 1/96 albeit on a much, much smaller scale. And as much fun as this is, it's certainly not as good.

Couple really cool spots, and Brad busting out a figure-four felt like a pretty big moment. He had been building to it by using a spinning toe hold, and when he finally locks it in people are buying that he might actually pull out the win. Of course Dangerously's there on the floor to shut that down. Finish is also real nifty.

I don't know why I hadn't remembered much of anything about this. I'd call myself a bit of a Brad Armstrong mark, and I'm pretty clearly a huge Double A mark, but I went into this knowing I had seen it before (it's on Will's Dangerous Alliance comp and I've seen most of that twice now. Because it fucking rocks) yet figuring it'd be a forgettable semi-squash. It really wasn't, and if anything it's one of the better examples of one of the Dangerous Alliance guys giving a lower card guy a ton of offence, gutting it out and having it go right down to the wire.

1992 WCW really is the fuckin' bidness.


Arn Anderson, Rick Rude & Steve Austin v Ricky Steamboat, Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes (WCW Pro, 4/4/92)

You should know what to expect from these tags now. Seeing how the heels will stooge and bump in the opening stretch of all of them is probably my favourite part, and the early stooging during the heels' opening gambits here is tops.

Each guy matches up with one from the other team at the start: Arn with Barry, Austin with Dustin, and Rude with Steamboat. Rude and Steamboat is in some ways the focal point since they've got themselves a pretty big hate feud going, but they don't give too much away on that front. Their opening exchange is obviously good, though.

Dustin and Austin have themselves a nifty little match up, too. There's a great sequence where Austin uses his trusty clothesline to flatten Dustin and appear to take control. That's a spot these two roll out quite a bit; Austin likes to throw clotheslines and Dustin's great at selling them, sometimes taking his inside-out-flip bump to boot. This time he follows up the clothesline with a whip into the corner, but Dustin reverses that, whips Austin into the corner and follows up with an attempted monkey flip. Austin throws him off and climbs to the second turnbuckle, but he doesn't notice Dustin rolling through and back up to his feet after hitting the mat, so he winds up jumping off into a payback clothesline from Dustin, this time out of mid-air.

The Arn and Barry exchange is number one and the best, though. They're the two that kick off the match, and before they so much as lock up Arn's complaining about Windham and his taped fist. Barry throws a half-hearted punch that's more designed to irritate than actually connect and cause damage, and Arn's looking at the referee like "Are you seeing this shit? What's the deal with this taped fist, ref'?", and you can tell what's coming. I spoke about the 2/22 8-man from Saturday Night back at the start of the month and how they kicked it off with a great sequence of comedy stooge spots as Arn and Eaton try to double team Barry. They do the same thing here, this time with Austin in Eaton's place -- Arn immediately backs Windham into the corner and buries a few shoulderblocks and a punch into the body, then follows it up by trying to whip him into the opposite corner. Windham reverses it by sending Arn in, charges in behind him and catches Arn's boot as he puts the foot up. Arn yells "OH NO!" and begs for mercy, but Barry's all smiles, spins him around and gives him an atomic drop, off of which Arn bounces into the corner and bumps his head off the turnbuckle. He staggers backwards out of the corner and Barry hoists him up again, this time sitting him on the top turnbuckle, at which point Austin comes in and clubs him from behind a couple times before hooking him for Arn, who's now recovered some, to come off the middle rope with a double axe or whatever. Just as he's doing this, Barry elbows Austin in the face to break the grip and digs Arn in the gut with the taped fist as he's coming down; Arn takes his flip bump as Austin tumbles out of the ring. Arn's dazed and doesn't know where he is, so you know he's gonna do the spot he loves where he'll stumble into the wrong part of town to get popped by every babyface on the apron, eventually stumbling back into the middle where Barry pops him on the chin with, you guessed it, a big taped right hand, and that leaves him bailing out on the floor to regroup with Austin and Paul E., complaining about getting stung with a closed fist "THREE TIMES!" Writing about it doesn't do it the sort of justice seeing it for yourself does, but it's seamless stuff and great every time.

Windham plays FIP here after Arn knees him in the spine as he's coming off the ropes, and Barry in peril is as good as Barry in peril should be. You look at that babyface team and it's really a who's who of outstanding FIPs. There's a great spot where he and Rude pinch an Anderson spot and careen into each other with a noggin-knocker, and fuck me did it look nasty. Windham just collapses on top of Rude and they manage to get a big nearfall out of it as well. Transition spot that leads to the hot tag is another Arn favourite. First he hits the ropes and gets caught in an abdominal stretch, but Dangerously gets up on the apron to distract the ref' so Austin can come off the top to break it, and from there Arn climbs the ropes for the second time in the match. When Arn climbs the ropes and starts taunting like it's all over but the shoutin' you can usually tell that whoever he's coming down on will counter somehow. This time it was a little less obvious because Barry's stirring and is in the process of getting back up to his feet, so you never know. Hell, maybe he'll actually hit that double axe that he tried earlier. Then he comes off the top and Barry just drops back to the mat and boots him in the teeth. Heyman's literally on the floor dragging Arn into his corner to make the tag, but by the time Rude gets in there it's too late; Steamboat's your house o' fire and someone's gonna get their wig split.

Steamboat is fired up like crazy and punching and chopping people left, right and centre, but most of it is directed at his new arch enemy Rude. Austin decides enough is enough, grabs a chair and uses it to break up Steamboat's pin off the cross body. Post-match looks like it's shaping up to be another Dangerous Alliance mugging, but Steamboat winds up with the chair and cleans house some more. Crowd is nutso and Steamboat's just had enough of these fuckers.

Tonnes of fun. The early spell with the Alliance members stooging around is strong, Windham's FIP stretch is strong, and while a DQ finish might not be as satisfying as a clean one, you couldn't watch this and tell me the crowd weren't psyched to the gills for what happened. The fact there's about 7 multi-man matches from '92 WCW that are better than it says more about the quality of wrestling that year than any "lack" of quality in this match specifically.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Is That 1992 WCW, Or Just A Brilliant Disguise?

Steve Austin v Barry Windham (Worldwide, 3/7/92)

This was decent, but these guys had a bunch of matches in '92 and this might not even be their fourth best. Windham's taped fist is a factor yet again in a Barry/Austin match, and while Austin never really got great until mid-way through the year, he was always one of the better guys at making Windham's punch look deadly. There's a spot early where he winds up on the apron protesting about the tape and Windham just cracks him to shut him up. That leads to a nice transition where Austin drags him out to the floor and DRILLS him head-first into the barricade a couple times. Of course Windham returns the favour shortly afterwards and they have a mid-match brawl around the ringside area, but this is mostly about Barry always having his right hand to bail him out should it be required. Doesn't go very long and has a run-in finish, but one can't be disappointed when there's so much awesome stuff over the course of the year.

Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton & Larry Zbyszko v Brian Pillman, Z-Man & Marcus Bagwell (Saturday Night, 3/7/92)

Bagwell comes into this with his neck all banged up after a Greg Valentine mugging earlier in the show, and Arn's mocking of him before the bell is tremendous. This kid can barely turn his head to the side and here's Anderson ripping him and laughing like a total dick. The Pillman/Arn exchanges in this are really choice. Those two always match up well, primarily because Arn's a guy that's awesome at showing frustration and annoyance at being shown up, outwitted, etc, and Pillman's the perfect guy to play off it since he has a ton of spots built around being quicker than the opponent. Pillman jumps over him with a leapfrog, hits the ropes and stops dead as Arn jumps for his own leapfrog, Pillman kicking him in the gut and making him look foolish as Arn comes back down to earth; stuff like that. Arn's also great at showing surprise and bewilderment, so he treats Pillman's highspots, which weren't exactly commonplace in the States in 1992, like crazy feats of athleticism that he's never seen before. He'll bail to the floor, talk it over with Paul E., bitch about phantom hair pulls and cheating, threaten a fan or two for pointing out he was just schooled; all things that Arn does to add to the exchanges. Pillman and Zenk are pretty much working this like a handicap match, flat out refusing to let Bagwell get in there for fear of him being crippled. Zenk's actually as tolerable here as I can ever remember since he keeps the hamminess to a minimum. The 3 on 2 disadvantage catches up with them eventually, and we get a Double A noggin-knocker spot as he sacrifices Eaton's head by smashing Pillman's into it, which is an awesome spot Arn and Eaton would use once in a while. Pillman's always a good FIP so you know what you're getting with that. Zbyszko's in dickhead mode here, stretching Pillman near the babyface corner while taunting Bagwell. Pretty sure he tells him to shut up because he's a punk, so it's typical Larry and it's typically great. Finish is cool as well and pays off the injury angle nicely. Bagwell more or less jumps in front of Zenk to beat him to the hot tag and comes in looking to give the Alliance a payback for all the mockery, but he's not worth much of a shit in his condition and Arn and Eaton quickly wind up giving him a double hot shot for being so hasty. If you're gonna run an angle where a participant in a match has a serious neck injury, then this is as good an example as any in terms of keeping it believable. Good, solid stuff.

Ricky Steamboat v Bobby Eaton (Worldwide, 4/4/92)

Fun enough match, but this is mostly all about the post-match angle with Madusa slapping Steamboat and Steamer, in a moment where his temper gets the better of him, slaps her right back. His reaction to this is great; apologetic and almost begging for forgiveness at laying his hand on a woman, no matter how much of a bitch she may be. This brings out the rest of the Dangerous Alliance and Rude completely murders him with a chair shot to the neck. Then they drag him out to the floor and fuck him up and we've got the blurred camera shot because it's too graphic for our audience. Sting and pals show up and all hell breaks loose. There's some cool stuff in the match itself, like Steamboat's sell of a top rope kneedrop, then him catching the second one and trying to turn it into a figure-four, and there's an interesting ref' bump to boot, but it's only a few minutes long and, well... the fuckin' post-match angle. That's where it's at.

Steve Austin v Z-Man (Saturday Night, 4/4/92)

I had remembered this as one of the better Zenk singles matches I'd seen, but after a re-watch I think I actually prefer the match these two had in August later in the year. This is 2/3 falls and gets plenty of time, but the August match felt more compact even though it was half as long. Not a whole lot of difference between the two, that said. First fall has Zenk using speed to keep Austin off balance while Austin tries to slow things down. This is long hair Austin so he's pretty happy to slap on a chin lock and lay in it for a while. Crazy how much he'd improve by the time they got to July the very same year. Must've been the hair. Second and third falls have some duelling arm work which was pretty neat, but neither guy sells it enough for it to mean much and it peters out to nothing in the end. I liked parts of this, but the parts that stand out most are the negatives ones, and that's not really what you want from a 2/3 falls match that goes a decent length of time. Still, I wouldn't call it bad or anything.

WCW 1992 Project

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Some Brimstone Baritone Anticyclone Rolling Stone Preacher From 1992 WCW

Bobby Eaton v Dustin Rhodes (Pro, 2/1/92)

There's two punch-to-the-fucking-face revenge spots at the beginning of this and I was all geared up for it being the best match ever or something. It was definitely good, but it seemed a little choppy in points. I definitely preferred their 5/8 and 5/9 matches and even then I wouldn't say those are matches anybody really has to go out of their way to see (though they wouldn't be wasting their time if they decided to watch them). Bobby does nuke Dustin in the throat with a steel chair here and it looked mighty brutal. Dustin was never afraid to take monster bumps on the floor, either.

Larry Zbyszko & Bobby Eaton v Brian Pillman & Mike Graham (Pro, 2/8/92)

Pillman & Graham continue to be an infinitely more enjoyable team than Pillman & Zenk and Larry is bitching and whining and telling people to shut up so I straight up dug the shit out of this. Bobby Eaton is Bobby Eaton so he ain't half bad as the final piece to the puzzle. Pillman's pretty much unstoppable here and aside from eating one nutso backbreaker from Bobby, he's the house o' fire from beginning to end, busting out all of his offence and driving Zbyszko up the wall, which is perfect if you're a Larry fan. "Shut up, JERK! You JERK! You too, ya JERK!" I love how Mike Graham seems to work a criss-cross spot into all of these matches. He plays FIP here, and he's solid as can be in that role, but I wish they'd book him to actually make the hot tag once in a while. Finish here is the same as the last match I spoke about with Graham playing FIP, and while it means you're left wanting, everything else is a blast. Pillman has awesome overhand chops btw, almost Hashimoto-like.

Arn Anderson, Larry Zbyszko, Bobby Eaton & Cactus Jack v Sting, Marcus Bagwell & The Steiner Brothers (Pro, 2/22/92)

All of the multi-man tags from around this period were so great. This isn't as good as the Saturday Night 8-man that aired on the same day, but it still has plenty of great stooging early and Anderson is yet again totally spectacular in the opening spell. I'm forgetting a lot of specifics unfortunately, but he's always an amazing stooge and he was no different here. I liked Cactus' role in this; he's Dangerously's hired mercenary and he's let loose once the rest of his teammates get bitched out. He pulls the top rope down as Scotty's hitting them at one point and his bump over the top is fucking ridiculous. He only plays FIP for, like, 30 seconds before Bagwell gets in and they head to the finish, so on that front it's disappointing, because if this went as long as the Saturday Night match, I think we could've had another classic. Still, for what we got, this was really good.

Arn Anderson, Rick Rude, Bobby Eaton & Larry Zbyszko v Brian Pillman, Ron Simmons, Big Josh & Z-Man (Worldwide, 2/29/92)

This was shaping up to be great until they hit us with a deplorable finish. That suckiness aside, the early stooging from the heels is amazing yet again. Really, these matches are made for guys like Arn and Zbyszko and holy fuck do they just flat out rule it every time out. I love that Arn seems to have different taunts for every guy on an opposing team. The spot where Arn gets the tag and walks over to the opponent's corner to goad one of them in is always a spot I look forward to in these tags, because I get giddy with anticipation at how he'll mock some schmuck on the apron. This time it's Zenk and he casually walks over and blows him a kiss and basically calls him a homo and... fuck man, the guy is just pure win. Zbyszko hates Pillman and all of his flashy bullshit and calls him a punk about 12 times. There's a Rude/Simmons test of strength spot that you watch and realise how friggin' great Rude really was. Again, deplorable finish is a deplorable finish, and what's even worse is that everything before it was so good that it really, really deserves a better cherry on top, so to speak. I'll probably watch the last two matches again so I can ramble endlessly about the heels and their glorious antics for a Double A of the Day some time down the line.

WCW 1992 Project

Friday, 27 August 2010

Buncha Stuff From Schneider Comp #24 (Black Terry & TENRYU)

Kiyoshi Tamura v Hiroyuki Ito (U-Style, 8/18/04)

I watched this towards the beginning of the year and it instantly became one of my favourite shoot-type matches ever. Watching it again, it's just as balls-to-the-wall great as I had remembered. Ito comes out SWINGIN' and trying to rip some of Tamura's limbs off because he has NO FEAR and doesn't give a shit that he's wrestling Kiyoshi Tamura. He manages to force Tamura into the ropes to break a couple sub attempts, and Tamura finds himself losing two points early as a result. Tamura has to step up big time from there and the total slugfest that ensues is fucking fantastic. By the end they're completely spent and hurling kicks at each other, which is when Tamura spots a weakness in Ito - his ribs - and starts trying to punt his lungs into the eleventh row. When I watched this the first time I was dying for Ito to break the half-crab. This time I knew he wouldn't, but I was still willing him on anyway. Great match.

Black Terry v Multifacitico (Mascara Contra Caballera) (IWRG, 4/17/08)

Black Terry's easily my pick for best in the world this year, and this is a Terry performance that's pretty close to the best Terry performances of 2010. Multifacitico is perfectly tolerable in his role, and for all I know he's a really good technico (this is the first Multifacitico match I've seen), but this is something you watch for the rudo, because the rudo is Terry and Terry is phenomenal. He's a total beast in the first caida, beating Multi from pillar to post, dragging him around the arena looking for things to hit him with, splitting him open and biting the wound, just abusing this kid like the grumpy old pitbull that he is. When he's not torturing him he's adding great little selling touches, like trying to punch Multi at the bell and Multi putting his championship belt up to block it and Terry selling it like crazy. Multi evening things up in the second caida after such a short comeback is the kind of thing that a lot of people are turned off by in Lucha, but one guy taking the fall "quickly" because he knows he'll be a little more fresh for the next one is an explanation that makes way more sense to me than just about everything in current day Japanese wrestling. Third caida is the "all in" caida, and where Multi gets his revenge shellacking of Terry. Multi is no Black Terry, so you don't get the sense he truly wants to rip his head off and piss down his throat like you get with Terry, but Terry as the wounded wolf that'll still bite your hand off is another role he's great in, so there's always that. Some big time nearfalls down the stretch to boot. Black Terry is the motherfucking boss.

Genichiro Tenryu v Tarzan Goto (WAR, 7/6/97)

This was totally bizarre and crazy and stiff and awesome. It's basically WAR in a nutshell. Goto is such an asshole in this, from the matwork at the beginning that he seems to be doing just to be a dick about it, smugly look at Tenryu any time he comes out on the better end of an exchange, to jabbing people in the throat with a bottle, to smashing said bottle over the referee's head after he's failed to smash it over his opponent's (ref' gigs himself HYYYYUGE, btw), to literally cutting Tenryu's boot off so he can work over the bare foot. He's also the ugliest motherfucker this side of Sarah Jessica Parker, with a forehead and arm that looks like a scratching post due to how often he's taken the blade to himself. When I'm watching guys with shredded up foreheads I always get a kick out of seeing what otherwise-harmless action causes them to burst open at the seam. With Dusty Rhodes a toothpick would do the trick. With Abdullah the butcher a sneeze is enough to get the plasma flowing. Goto throws a couple headbutts in this and blam, there's your juice. Granted, these are some mean headbutts, which they'd need to be to not look feathery light next to the lariats and point-of-the-toe-to-the-eye-socket kicks and straight up punches both guys are throwing, because those are some MEAN strikes, but still... Goto has a carved up head and he bleeds and bleeds with little effort. Tenryu is as grumpy and pissed off and contemptuous as a Tenryu fan would like, and holy fuck does a Tenryu fan need Goodhelmet to drop that Tenryu set ASAP. There's one moment at the start where he backs Goto into the ropes and gives him a clean break, but then right afterwards Goto doesn't return the favour and instead slaps the spit out of his mouth, and Tenryu's look of sheer "Oh motherfucker are you serious?" is tremendous. Tenryu is also the motherfucking boss.

Dustin Rhodes & The Young Pistols v The Fabulous Freebirds & Badstreet (WCW Saturday Night, 6/15/91)

Well this was a total blast, built almost entirely around stalling and shtick. They go 50 minutes without making any contact, man. Not really, but this is some awesome stalling and horseshit on the Freebirds' part. Hayes is particularly spectacular, preening and posing and trying to start clapping chants for HIMSELF, only to wind up being the recipient of a "FAGGOT" chant here and a "FREEBIRDS SUCK" chant there. The spot where he starts clapping and stomping to get the crowd behind him before realising nobody's actually going along with it and finally slowing his clap to a halt with this amazingly pathetic "Hey, what gives?" expression is so great. He's a man that's just looking to be accepted, that's all. There's another moment where Hayes and Garvin are annoyed with Nick Patrick's "quick count", and so they show him how it should be done, slowly clapping "one............two............three", that way he'll know how to do it next time. Of course you know what's coming. Garvin pins one of the Pistols, and sure enough Nick Patrick gets down to count: one........ and Garvin's up pissing and moaning and Hayes is over to complain about the count, now because it's too *slow*. This time they tell him to speed it up, clapping one, two, three much faster. Again, you know what's coming. Smothers gets a sunset flip on Garvin, Patrick's down with his sped up count, and the Freebirds lose their shit. I actually don't recall ever seeing that spot done before. I mean, I knew what was gonna happen, but that's the thing about shtick; you can see it coming and you pop big for it every time. Badstreet, who's Brad Armstrong under a hood, doesn't even get involved until around the 15 minute mark because Hayes and Garvin want to save him for when they have control. He's the beast they'll let out the cage when the time is right. And, by the way, the transition spot into Smothers playing FIP is a fuckload of greatness that's capped off with a trademark Michael Hayes left hook. Garvin also boots him clean in the teeth with a NASTY Yakuza kick at one point and Tracey sells it by flying off the apron and careening into the guardrail. Finish is nothing to shout home about, but as far as matches that go 20 minutes without doing much of anything, this is pretty much a classic. Seriously, give me this shit ALL day.

Doug Basham v Mark Jindrak (WWE Velocity, 3/26/05)

For four minutes, this was pretty much perfect. Bulk of it... or as close to "bulk" as you can get in four minutes... is Basham working Jindrak's leg, and I don't think I've ever seen someone work a leg by bodyslamming the opponent ONTO the ring ropes, but Hell, Doug does it here and it looks cool as shit. Jindrak's really good at selling it all, too. He also hits a monster backdrop and throws a wicked left hook at the end, which Doug sells perfectly in return. Easy way to spend four minutes.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Barefoot Girl Sittin' On The Hood Of A Dodge, Drinkin' Warm Beer In The Soft Embrace Of 1992 WCW

Steve Austin & Bobby Eaton v Brian Pillman & Z-Man (Main Event, 1/26/92)

Great, time for some Z-Man. I don't think anybody in wrestling history has a worse superkick than Zenk. Bischoff on commentary has to refer to it as a standing side kick on account of how not super it looks. My disdain for Zenk aside, this was good, which should surprise nobody. It was kinda messy in points and things didn't always come off looking as good as they should have, but I'm a guy that generally finds a bit of messiness in my wrestling to be a good thing; tonnes of stuff today seems so choreographed, so one guy going going for an Irish whip and the other guy saying "No, fuck that, you're taking this backbreaker and that's that" is cool with me. The Austin/Pillman exchanges here were pretty bossy, especially at the start with Austin bailing to the floor because Pillman's chopping him to shit. You can audibly hear him say "I'm fixin' to quit!" at one point. Pillman's FIP stretch is pretty nifty because he'll bump around all day and has no problem taking even the nastiest of Eaton's stuff. Bischoff on commentary starts rambling on about how managers in all sports are just like Heyman in that they talk to referees to distract them. I'll look out for Paul Scholes studding someone in the shins the next time Alex Ferguson starts bitching about only getting 8 minutes of stoppage time. Finish is kinda all over the place and is none too pretty, but this wasn't really a pretty match anyway. Good, sure. Pretty... look elsewhere.

Rick Rude v Brad Armstrong (Worldwide, 2/1/92)

For around five minutes, I thought this was really good stuff. Low-tech and very simple, but Rude and Armstrong working simple and low-tech is gonna result in something that's decent-at-worst 9 times out of 10. Right at the start Rude leapfrogs Brad and does his gyrating hips shtick only to turn around into a pair of atomic drops, and, well, a match with Rude taking a couple atomic drops is automatically worth watching. No seriously, it is. Armstrong works the arm for a couple minutes and Rude's great at selling it; there's a cool spot where he hits a clothesline with the bad arm, sells the shit out of it and turns around back into an armdrag and armbar. Not one of the must-see Rude matches of the year, but if you're like me then you'll want to get your hands on everything the guy did in '92, because he was sensational.

Arn Anderson & Bobby Eaton v Brian Pillman & Mike Graham (Saturday Night, 2/1/92)

Oh fuck, Arn was totally amazing in this, trashtalking people, getting pissed off at everything; he's really vocal and that's an aspect that's missing in today's wrestling. Starts out with Graham getting a little too eager for Arn's tastes so he has a word with the ref' about getting him to hold his horses a little. Then they go into a fuckin' criss-cross of all things and that almost lands Arn in a figure-four, and he wants no part of that. He backs into the corner and has a word with Heyman, pointing to Graham like "Get a load of this guy, would ya. A fuckin' figure-four." Of all the Dangerous Alliance guys, Heyman definitely had the best chemistry with Arn. Usually Heyman comes across as a total lunatic when he's out on the floor, shouting and whining and berating folks left and right, but with Arn you get the impression he's actually *managing* him, and Arn plays off that like a guy that's taking advice from his coach. He and Graham do another criss-cross spot a minute later, and this ends with Graham making the blind tag to Pillman who catches Arn unawares with a slingshot. Arn's up calling for time and bailing to the floor wondering what the fuck just happened, "Hey... no tag. Where was the tag." Heyman's right there to keep his boy's head in the game: "It's okay, it's okay. You're Arn Anderson. You're gonna let these jerks get you upset? Arn Anderson, the great Arn Anderson? You can't let them treat you like that." Anderson: "You're right", and back to work he goes. Great spot with Pillman, Eaton and Arn -- Pillman stands up on Eaton's shoulders while they're in a knuckle-lock, and when Arn comes in Pillman jumps from Bobby's shoulders to hit Arn with a cross body. He slips a little and doesn't get the jump right, so he winds up coming down on Arn's leg, twisting it in a really nasty looking way. Arn's pissed and immediately says to Eaton, "Tag me. TAG me." He's only in about 15 seconds before Pillman takes him over with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors, and Arn sells it with the BEST bug-eyed Arn sell ever. If I wasn't an idiot I'd so make a gif of that. Then he gets up and he's all "What was THAT?!" I get that this sort of thing probably appeals to me more than most, but fuck it, wrestling needs more guys doing stuff like that. Pillman and Graham are a perfectly solid babyface team, and I recall there being a couple other matches involving Graham from around this period that were also really fun. I mean, I'd rather watch him tag with Pillman than Zenk. This goes about half as long (if that) as the 1/26 match, but I prefer this one for the fact Arn and Graham add way more here than what Austin and Zenk did there. Don't just watch this because it's good; watch it for Arn.

Barry Windham v Steve Austin (Saturday Night, 2/1/92)

Only goes about five minutes, but it's pretty much perfect for what it is. Windham had taken Paul E.'s gigantic phone the week before and tried to break Austin's kneecap with it, so Austin comes out here with a massive bandage and is selling the leg like it's clearly fucked up. Aside from Austin whacking Barry's injured hand off the guardrail a couple times and trying to take the tape off, this is ALL Barry picking up where he left off. Everything he does is geared towards the knee and you get the sense he'd rather punish Austin than beat him for the title on the night. Austin's sell job is exactly what you want it to be. At one point Barry tries to whip him in into the corner and Austin doesn't even take one step before falling flat on his face. Finish has Barry locking in a figure-four and grabbing onto the top rope for extra leverage, not giving a shit if the ref' disqualifies him or not. Heyman's going INSANE calling for back-up, but even when three guys start putting the boots to Barry he won't release the hold. He's a man possessed, I tell ya.

Rick Rude v Z-Man (Saturday Night, 2/1/92)

More Zenk. Rude wrestling anybody is at least of SOME interest to me, though, so it's cool. Rude comes out all sportsman-like at the start here, shaking Zenk's hand, breaking clean in the corner, etc. He's a good guy deep down. Then by the end he's dropping Zenk throat-first across the guardrail, fish hooking him right in front of the camera and constantly taking digs at Steamboat who's not even in the arena: "COME ON, Steamboat!" "What'cha GOT, Steamboat?" As much as Zenk annoys me, he's a totally inoffensive wrestler for the most part, and he's pretty good selling the back here. He's really vocal too - "Ah my back, ref'! My back!" This gets a nice amount of time (almost 11 minutes), but I really wish it was Armstrong that got 10 minutes and Zenk got the 5. I thought the former was a better match even with half the time, but Armstrong's better than Zenk is anyway so another 5 minutes could've produced something great. Still, this was perfectly solid.

WCW 1992 Project

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Funk, Finlay & FUCKIN' Vader!

Basically watched some random stuff last night. This was the best of it:

Terry & Dory Funk v Giant Baba & Jumbo Tsuruta (All Japan Pro Wrestling, 12/14/77)

This is part of the '77 Tag League and is probably the best match these teams have had up to this point. Thing I found most interesting about this is that Terry really struck as being the best guy in the match, and I didn't think it was all that close. He's borderline staggeringly better at working holds than Dory, both in terms of *him* working them and him *being* worked, and I don't know how Dory's managed to get this rep as the "technical brother" while Terry's talked about as the maniac brawler. Not saying Dory's a shitty worker of holds, because he's not, but Terry does everything Dory does only better. He's also got a trillion ways to keep things interesting, while Dory really doesn't. Terry was pretty awesome here, especially as they were getting close to the time limit, doing great little desperation spots and stooging like a king. He eats a Jumbo dropkick with a couple minutes left, and post-kick out he gets on his knees and gives Jumbo a couple nasty little headbutts before scurrying to his corner and tagging Dory. He managed to make an "attempted piledriver too close to the ropes resulting in being backdropped to the floor" spot look totally organic, as well. There's also a moment near the end where Baba has Dory pinned close to the Funks' corner and Terry makes a blind tag, but instead of coming in and jumping Baba when he isn't expecting it, he gives him a pat on the back and puts his hands in the air for a clean break. "We're gonna do this fair and square, big man." Then he assumes a boxing stance and stars floatin' like a butterfly...all the way into the opposite corner so he can pop Jumbo on the chin. Match is mostly built around spells where one team will work a body part of a member of the other team. They kinda go back and forth with this until nothing manages to stick, at which point they're nearing the expiration of time and they start busting out some of the bigger stuff. They're the kind of momentum shifts you'll see in a lot of tags from the era, but they're going long here so the first few heat segments are longer as a result. Jumbo unsurprisingly takes the most punishment of everybody. He's the young Kobashi to Baba's Misawa. It's all really solid stuff, and if you dig young, fired up Jumbo then you won't have much problem with this. The best of these segments is Terry's, who is always doing something to keep things moving and is never content to let any of the holds lull. At that time, I'm not sure there was anybody in Japan or America that was better than him in that respect. Backlund, maybe, but it's real close. Comparing his stretch of being worked over to Dory's earlier in the match, Terry blows Dory out the water. Granted, Terry's having his arm worked while Dory's stuck with a headlock, so one probably needs a comparison of Dory in Terry's position given that there's more room for creativity there, but still, based on general effort, you really gotta take Terry all day. I knew what the finish to this was already (pretty sure I had seen the match in the past), so I found myself looking for how well they fill time down the stretch. I thought they did a fairly good job of that. I recall their match from a year later being quite a bit better than this, and I thought their match from the 1980 League was excellent even though I suspect it might not hold up as well when I get around to re-watching it, but this is really good, if sort of unspectacular. Terry rocks, though.

Vader v Ken Shamrock (WWF In Your House 15: A Cold Day In Hell, No Holds Barred Match, 5/11/97)

This isn't your traditional WWF/E interpretation of no holds barred; instead it's like the WWF's attempt at putting a mixed martial arts fight into a worked wrestling match, "no holds barred" coming about because you'd still sometimes find MMA being referred to as no "holds barred fighting" at the time. Although none of the fine print is as important as the fact these two just beat the piss out of each other. Fuck everything else. Shamrock's a guy that apparently used to rule at the pro-wrestling back when he worked for Fujiwara's promotion in the early 90s (gonna have to send Will yet more money for that PWFG set), and he looked pretty great here. He comes out throwing leg kicks and trying to take Vader down to the mat, and whenever he manages to get him there he goes right for an arm or a leg and tries to submit him. Vader's great at selling the kicks and getting over the urgency of escaping the holds, going right for the ropes or bailing to the floor. Shamrock wants to keep things moving quickly while Vader wants to slow things down to his pace, so he keeps trying to back him into the corner and blast him with those big potatoey punches to the body and head. Every time Vader would bail to the floor I was waiting for Shamrock to lose it and eventually come out after him, which is Vader's domain and what he seems to want, but he never does. So Vader takes matters into his own hands and just suplexes him from inside the ring to the floor. This isn't your junior-heavyweight-suplex-from-the-apron-to-the-floor spot where the guy taking the suplex lands on his feet and crumples in a heap anyway; this was more like the Shawn Michaels suplex to the floor bump from the Summerslam ladder match with Ramon, only Shamrock lands on his front as opposed to his back. Vader's got him right where he wants him and fuck does he give Shamrock a real thumping here. Vader's one of the stiffest motherfuckers in wrestling history, but sometimes you see him COMPLETELY turn loose, and when he does, his "worked" punches - which are barely "worked" to begin with - become ultra-nasty and head-cavey. At one point he just fucks Shamrock right in the nose with a headbutt and hits what has to be the fugliest short-arm clothesline in the history of man. Final couple minutes feature some legit harrowing instances of retarded stiffness, first with Shamrock plastering Vader with forearm shots to the temple, at one point catching him with a PEACH. Big Leon doesn't take kindly to this and absolutely slaughters him with the most contemptible motherfucker of a clothesline you've ever seen. I mean, you can't really call it a clothesline because that kinda suggests it was a wrestling move, and, well, that just doesn't do it any justice. These two have a fucking cage match a couple months later and I need to see that right away. Can't imagine it being as good as this, but that says more about this match than anything else. My kind of wrestling, that's what this is.

Finlay v Tyson Kidd (ECW, 5/12/09)

Finlay is one of my all-time favourite wrestlers. I was thinking the other day that I might start a project for this thing where I watch, talk about, and eventually checklist every Rey Mysterio match that's ever made tape since he came to WWE, but this is my first Finlay match in ages and as such I've fallen in love with him all over again and might save that project for him instead (for one, the amount of footage makes it far less egregiously stupid and ultimately pointless). I could watch him abuse some punk kid with a goofy haircut all day, and that's exactly what I got in the first few minutes here. There's one spot where Kidd grabs a leg and starts going to work on it, and Finlay winds up countering by working him into a Texas Cloverleaf, standing him on his head at the same time, and then falls back into a backbreaker across the knees. It's hard to explain but it looked awesome. I haven't seen very much Tyson Kidd, but he looked good on offence here, much like he did in the Mysterio match from earlier this year (that's basically the totality of my Tyson Kidd viewings). He works over Finlay's arm after he dropkicks the shoulder into the steps, and he's brings lots of intensity to what he does (more than Dory). I prefer watching him try to bite Finlay's hand to get out of whatever hold he's being tortured with, but there's a ton of guys that are worse on offence, that's for sure. No surprise that Finlay's selling is tops, too. Finish was a total bummer, though. I probably wouldn't have been as disappointed if I knew it was coming, but the most I had ever heard about this is that it was good, and thus had no idea. Everything before it sure as shit was good, but just as Finlay's making his comeback... boom. And I'm left wanting.

Monday, 23 August 2010

2010 MOTY List (Updated)

  1. Black Terry, Negro Navarro & Dr. Cerebro v Solar I, Zatura & Suicida (IWRG, 1/28)
  2. Dr. Cerebro v El Hijo Del Diablo (IWRG, 1/31)
  3. Angelico, Solar I & Ultraman Jr. v Negro Navarro, Trauma I & Trauma II (IWRG, 1/7)
  4. Rey Mysterio v CM Punk (WWE, 2/12)
  5. Trauma I & Trauma II v Suicida & Zatura (IWRG, 1/14)
  6. Christian v Drew McIntyre (WWE, 7/30)
  7. Rey Mysterio v Jack Swagger (WWE, 6/11)
  8. Matt Hardy v Drew McIntyre (WWE, 6/25)
  9. Christian v Drew McIntyre (WWE, 8/20)
  10. The Young Bucks v El Generico & Chuck Taylor (PWG, 2/27)
  11. Chris Masters v Dolph Ziggler (WWE, 5/13)
  12. Rey Mysterio v CM Punk (WWE, 3/28)
  13. Black Terry, Dr. Cerebro & El Hijo Del Signo v Pantera, El Hijo Del Pantera & Zatura (IWRG, 2/11)
  14. Chris Masters v Chavo Guerrero (WWE, 8/12)
  15. Black Terry & Dr. Cerebro v Gringo Loco & El Hijo Del Diablo (IWRG, 2/7)
  16. Black Terry & Dr. Cerebro v Gringo Loco & El Hijo Del Diablo (IWRG, 1/24)
  17. Bryan Danielson v Kaval (FCW, 2/7)
  18. Black Terry, Dr. Cerebro & Trauma I v Pantera, El Hijo Del Pantera & Zatura (IWRG, 2/18)
  19. John Cena & Evan Bourne v Edge & Sheamus (WWE, 5/31)
  20. Chris Masters v Luke Gallows (WWE, 6/25)
  21. Christian v Ezekiel Jackson (WWE, 1/31)
  22. Rey Mysterio v CM Punk (WWE, 4/25)
  23. Black Terry, Dr. Cerebro & Cerebro Negro v Pantera, Suicida & Zatura (IWRG, 1/7)
  24. Rey Mysterio v Tyson Kidd (WWE, 3/25)
  25. Rey Mysterio v Dolph Ziggler (WWE, 8/13)
  26. Evan Bourne & Yoshi Tatsu v Chavo Guerrero & Zack Ryder (WWE, 4/8)
  27. Christian & Kane v Ezekiel Jackson & William Regal (WWE, 1/26)
  28. Negro Navarro v Angelico (IWRG, 1/21)
  29. The Undertaker v Rey Mysterio (WWE, 1/31)
  30. Evan Bourne v Zack Ryder (WWE, 5/27)


8. Matt Hardy v Drew McIntyre (WWE, 6/25)

Well this sort of came out of nowhere and struck me as being totally awesome. Maybe I'm just watching "the right stuff", but fuck me if Drew isn't becoming one of my favourites. Sort of makes me wish I had gone to see him in person when he was working shows 30 miles away from my house. I bought him as having a gnarly mean streak in the Christian matches, but this was violent beyond my expectations. Hardy's the kind of guy that you want to be wrestling if you're looking to get over as someone that's rugged and nasty, because he isn't afraid to take the sort of ass stomping necessary for that to be achieved. He eats a fair few stiff shots in this. There's one moment where Drew's got him in the corner and he fucking LEVELS him with a standing clothesline, but it's way more like a forearm club to the chin than a clothesline. Then he does it two more times and they all sound real nasty. Hardy's great at making this seem like a fight at points too, throwing his awesome punches, recklessly hurling himself at Drew and spearing him through the ropes, etc. Still, as good as all of that is, this is about the bumps. Holy Christ are there some great bumps in this. The first sick bump is one that I don't even think was intentional, and it doesn't look as nutty as at least two others, but I went back and checked it a couple times and I'm not entirely sure Drew yelling like he did was all a worked sell. It's similar to the bump that Michaels took against Undertaker in their casket match (the one he says put him out all those years), in that he tries to fly over the steel steps, but he undershoots it and clips his lower back on the jagged edge of the steel. Couple re-watches in slow-mo made me cringe a little. The two REAL big bumps are intentional, which makes them even nuttier. The first is Hardy taking an insane flat-back bump off of a back suplex on the floor, which looked and sounded fucking nuts. His subsequent sell is great with him lying motionless (or dead) for a while and getting a great teased countout out of it. The second is absolutely ridiculous and probably the best spot I've seen in any WWE match this year. Drew has Hardy's head rested on the steps and is about to stomp on it (which I think started this whole feud in the first place), but Hardy pops up and sweeps his leg out from under him, and McIntyre's bump is fuggin' HIDEOUS; flat-back on the steps and sounds like someone just shot a garage door with a shotgun from close range. And then he's back in the ring and taking Matt's Twist of Fate like a king about a minute later. I can understand someone thinking this lulled in the middle, but I dug it the whole way through and the high points in this are as good as the high points in any WWE match I've seen this year.

9. Christian v Drew McIntyre (WWE, 8/20)

"Did you just call me attractive?" Christian selling the arm in a ten minute match is probably as close to 'can't fail' as you'll get these days. The 7/30 match between these two was my first (sober) McIntyre experience and I was looking forward to more as soon as it was over. Still, it was Christian's selling that mostly made it for me and it would be Christian that'd get me stoked for rematches. Then I watched the Drew/Hardy match and I was WAY pumped for this. Didn't disappoint. I liked the 7/30 match a little more, but they're both more or less the same structurally, albeit with different spots plugged in. Drew comes out and goes STRAIGHT to the arm again. Same arm had come into play the previous week when Christian wrestled Cody Rhodes - who's an awesomely smug little prick on commentary here - and Drew knows it's a bullseye. Christian's able to keep it away from him initially, but then McIntyre comes up with another amazing transition into his control segment by tearing the ring barricade apart and using the steel to almost rip the arm out the socket. Christian's bump was buckets of Hellish. Drew has great hammerlocks and ways to work the arm, really cranking holds (the hammerlock) and cutting him off by going back to the arm - reversing an attempted flying mare into a hammerlock slam and busting out a really forceful arm wringer that Christian takes an unsurprisingly great bump off of. He also uses more stuff lying around the place to inflict nasty damage, like battering the arm off the ring post. Christian's selling down the stretch is amazing, my favourite instance being him hitting a jumping DDT off the middle rope and reacting like he just tore his own arm out in the process. Finish was fucking great too, especially the set up spot from Drew. If you asked me 2 months ago if I could ever see myself having Drew McIntyre and Chris Masters in my top 5 current favourite WWE wrestlers, I would've thought you were smoking crack.

14. Chris Masters v Chavo Guerrero (WWE, 8/12)

This was fucking awesome and Masters rules the God damn universe. Chavo also looked better than all but a few dudes on the indies here, too. One thing about Masters that has seriously impressed the Hell out of me this year is his willingness to bump like a freak for a dude with his build. When he's not taking ridiculous bumps off the apron he's making standard bumps looks great, case in point: Ziggler's Zig-Zag thing that I don't recall ever looking as good. He also looks 100% comfortable now and does a great job with selling. He gets his ribs worked over here and he takes and sells all of Chavo's stuff really well. And he takes a flat-back bump from the apron to the floor for good measure. Wasn't quite as spectacular as the one against Ziggler, but still. There's also some incredible spots in this. I've mentioned before that any match featuring one guy chopping another guy in the face will instantly storm its way into my heart, and sure enough Masters potatoes Chavo with a fucking chop to the face. He also busts out a motherfucking jackhammer as a reversal to Chavo's three amigos. What's really great, though, is that the most impressive spots play into the rib work. The first is Chavo's rolling senton from the apron to the floor (after Masters' previously mentioned bump), which he follows up on by hitting a hilo. Then they do something that I honestly don't recall ever seeing in this company before (unless it was Benoit, Finlay or Regal, although even then I don't remember it). Chavo has Masters in a bodyscissors (RIBWORK~), so Masters, after failing to escape a couple times already, just turns into Chavo's guard and starts blasting him with elbows. Chavo tries to cover up (IF HE CAN'T DEFEND HIMSELF IT'LL BE STOPPED, MAN), so Masters, still in the bodyscissors, gets to his feet and fucking OBLITERATES Chavo with the mother of all slingshots into the turnbuckle. Masters really has an incredible slingshot and THIS is probably the best slingshot spot ever, from the set up to the execution to the bump. Finish even pays off the rib work as Chavo counters a superplex by hitting a hotshot that Masters almost decapitates himself off of, and then he hits the best frog splash he's probably ever hit (TO THE RIBS, MAN) for the win. Words cannot express how much I dug this.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Some Smackdown! From 2006

I got a bunch of 2006 Smackdown! stuff put onto a sort of mini-comp a few months back, and I'm finally starting to dig into it. Watched a couple Benoit/Orton matches and the Rey/Henry match from January a while back and they were all fuckin' great, so I'll probably ramble my ass off about those at some point, too.

Undertaker v Mark Henry (2/10/06)

This was really good. I’m not sure when people started to really turn the corner on Henry as a worker (don’t recall that many people being stoked for a Henry/Batista feud when he showed up again before the turn of 2006), but I’ve watched a nice little chunk of the stuff he’s been in from around this period and he’s been really awesome as a big nasty motherfucker; totally imposing and perfectly believable as a guy that’ll fuck you up. And I say this as someone that’s always been sort of apathetic towards him. Starts out with Henry overpowering Undertaker and more or less steamrolling him for a few minutes before taking an amazing bump into the ring steps to give Undertaker control. He really barrels into them and the top step completely tears away from the bottom step and flies right into the guardrail: made for an awesome visual, like Michael Strahan just tackled some kid getting a piggy back. Undertaker’s been one of my favourites for the last 4 years now and he’s a guy that seems to be able to work really well with pretty much anybody. He goes above and beyond to make Henry seem like the kind of person even a zombie should be wary of. Both guys are actually tops at playing up the whole idea of the opponent being a near unstoppable force, or whatever cliché you fancy. Henry’s really choice at working the back later on in the match as well, throwing some awesome looking forearms to the kidneys, standing on Undertaker with his entire bodyweight, etc. This isn’t as good as the Henry/Mysterio match from a few weeks earlier, but it’s a match I’ve never heard any of the big Mark Henry fans pointing to as a great Henry performance, and it really is.

Undertaker & Kurt Angle v MNM & Mark Henry (2/17/06)

Not as good as the Undertaker/Henry singles match, but this works fine as a lead in to Undertaker/Angle at No Way Out a couple days later. Those two spend most of the time they’re on offence trying to outdo the other in terms of how much shit they can put Mercury and Nitro through. One spot has Undertaker laying into Nitro in one corner while Angle is laying into Mercury in another, and after each flurry of strikes one guy will look at the other like “top that, then.” MNM were a great little team, bumping, stooging; the whole lot. Nitro is especially happy to pinball around for Undertaker here, at one point getting so much height on being tossed into the corner that he overshoots it and nearly impales himself on the ring post. Henry isn’t featured a whole lot, but when he is he’s mowing people down and doing what you want Mark Henry to be doing in a situation like this. There’s a great spot where Angle and Undertaker are arguing about something and Henry appears from nowhere to clothesline them both in the fuckin’ head. We also get an FIP spell from both Undertaker and Angle and man is ‘Taker a great hot tag, sprinting from corner to corner hitting clotheslines and murdering guys with boots to the face. There’s a gazillion matches from Smackdown! throughout ’06 that I’m really looking forward to seeing; this wasn’t really one of them. Shame on me, I guess, because I dug it quite a bit.

Saturday, 21 August 2010


Arn Anderson v Dustin Rhodes (WCW Saturday Night, 1/25/92)

I spoke about their awesome 1/4 match in DAotD #7, and while this isn't on the level of that, it's still a great 5 or 6 minute Arn Anderson show.

Match starts out with Dustin controlling using a headlock and Arn being unable to shake him. He'll slip out and grab hold of Dustin, but this young punk's too slippery and all roads lead back to Arn having his head cranked. There's a great moment where he pops Dustin in the face and Dustin fires back with a big right hand to the jaw, Arn selling it like he's Arn Anderson, checking his teeth to see if they're all there, eyes bugging out in shock and calling for time.

We get a tease of Arn taking control when he starts backing Dustin into corners and giving him body shots, catching him running in with a big elbow to the face and applauding himself to boot. Then he goes for a neckbreaker and Dustin reverses it into a surprise backslide, and Arn's right back to square one - trying to find ways to get out of Dustin's headlocks. There's a great shot of a nervous Dangerously on the floor chomping at his fingernails and Ross seems genuinely disgusted, "Isn't that pitiful?"

The eventual transition into Arn in control is awesome. He jumps over Dustin with a leapfrog and comes down in a heap, clutching his knee like he's just torn his cruciate. Dangerously jumps the ring and begs and pleads with Dustin to show mercy, yelling "HE'S HURT! HE'S HURT!", even offering him a wad of cash to leave poor Arn alone. Of course Arn's fit as a fiddle and picks his spot to blindside Dustin and plant him with a DDT. Arn's spectacular over the next few minutes; he's in calculated hitman mode, but he can't seem to get over how great he and Heyman's scheme was and so he does everything with a smile on his face. He'll do some jumping jacks in between dropping a knee on Dustin's neck; burst into fits of laughter and applause in between grinding his boot in Dustin's face like it's a discarded cigarette; point to his head and tell everyone how smart he is in between grating Dustin's eyes across the top rope.

Final transition comes when Arn gets a little too cocky and winds up eating a knee to the chops and a big lariat. Punch-drunk Arn throwing wild punches while he's getting peppered with shots from the opponent is an Arn spot I always love, and there's a boss slugfest of that ilk towards the end here. Finish is the standard Dangerous Alliance run in of the time, but that's after Arn takes a killer bulldog, and the post-match is good too, with Windham getting a hold of Paul E's phone and going to town on Austin's leg with it while Dustin swings a chair at anybody trying to help.

For a short TV match, this is as good an Arn showcase as any.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Macho Man v Million Dollar Man... x4

After a year of watching a trillion and a half WWF/E matches for a Greatest WWF/E Match Ever Poll, I realised that I never got around to re-watching any of the Randy Savage/Ted DiBiase singles matches from Savage's first WWF Title run. I couldn't remember which was which by the time it came to putting a ballot together, so I never bothered with any of them even though I figured I probably would've voted for one had I got around to them all again.

The Wrestlemania IV match I remember well enough to know that it wasn't anything I'd consider for a top 100, but a quick check of my Savage set has 4 matches that I remember being worth seeing for one reason or another. 3 from MSG and 1 from the July WrestleFest event in Milwaukee. There's also a cage match from Philly on a later disc that I don't think I've seen before (which seems strange given that a friend and I motored through 22 discs of Savage a couple summers ago...albeit in a drunken haze), but that's something for another day. I'll stick to the four for now:

Randy Savage v Ted DiBiase (MSG, 4/25/88)

This is worked like a "first" match of a feud, where things start off with a basic face/heel dynamic and you get the sense neither guy is much of a fan of the other, but there's no clear signs that they're feuding. Then by the end you've got Savage losing his nut and wanting to murder DiBiase and we're all set for the return match where you know Savage will come out swinging. First part of this is Savage working Ted's arm and I was digging it. I was sort of bipolar on Savage for a while last year, but now I pretty much love the guy again and his facial expressions are totally awesome to me; like a coke fiend whose dog's just been snatched and he's gonna machete everybody in sight until it's returned to him. DiBiase isn't as much fun on offence, which is the story with all of these matches, sort of unfocused and not really doing a whole lot worth noting. He does have amazing snap bumps off of Savage's neck whips across the ropes, though; landing back-first on the mat and flipping all the way over onto his stomach, barely using his hands for assistance at all. It's a "signature" DiBiase bump, but it always look terrific and the way he bumps around for Savage's shit is one of my favourite things about all of their matches. Virgil's better at running distractions out on the floor than I had remembered as well. He adds a lot to their cage match especially. Finish to this sets up a rematch with DiBiase getting the count out win and then prancing around the ring with the belt before Savage realises it was HIM that stole his little dog and tries to cut his face off. Nice "start" to their series and I could definitely see someone going to bat for this as their best match.

Randy Savage v Ted DiBiase (MSG, 5/27/88)

Return match, and Savage does indeed come out swinging. So much so that he WASTES DiBiase with a double forearm in the opening seconds and breaks his face. He just flies across the ring in a blur of beard and cape and sunglasses and fuggin' ploughs right into him. About 5 seconds later DiBiase's nose is all fucked up and he's on the floor writing his name on the blue mats. Savage is only in control for a couple minutes this time, but he's even more nutty and rabid than he was in the first match; like he's only in control because he's so *out* of control. Yeah...I like how that sounds. Eventually DiBiase takes over by launching Savage over the top, and from there he works on top for about 5 minutes. Still not really feeling DiBiase in control, though. He's good at giving Savage all of his hope spots and the crowd is there with him all the time, but I much prefer him eating all of Savage's stuff and seeing how he'll incorporate his favourite bumps, like the flip bump after being caught with a punch to the gut coming off the middle rope or the "snap" bumps that I mentioned in the last match. His bump for Savage's neck whip across the top rope is a little different this time. In the last match he flipped over by practically using only his neck, whereas this time it was more akin to the way Rock would sell a Stunner. They tease Savage's comeback before he's tossed out to the floor again, and we're back to Ted in control for another couple minutes. One thing I definitely could watch DiBiase do all day is level Savage with those awesome fist drops. Finish is quite nifty, although they're too busy showing us Liz jawing with the ref' (!) to catch the set up for it. DiBiase takes the pad off the turnbuckle and tries to ram Savage's head into it, but it's reversed and it's Ted that takes the shot. Randy rolls over for the pin and Virgil just stomps him in the head before the ref' can count the three. Post-match Savage takes a swing at people with a chair, and with two matches down and no clear winner, I guess the next logical step would be a cage. Think I prefer their first match to this, although it isn't by much. The two strike me as being very different despite the fact they're both bringing the same "stuff" each time out. This one also has the blood, which, intentional or not, adds to the whole dynamic of the feud.

Randy Savage v Ted DiBiase (Cage Match, MSG, 6/25/88)

I liked some of this, but for the most part I don't understand why it's been pimped as much as it has over the years. I honestly don't remember what I thought of it at the time I last watched it, so maybe I dug it then myself, but this time it struck me as the kind of match that has two guys busting out some nice shit that doesn't really amount to much or mean anything in the grand scheme since they're working 'my turn, your turn' the majority of the way. They have some nice ideas and both guys are great as always at taking the other's stuff, but the problem with those ideas is that they seem to both have different ones... and they both want to run with their own idea... and ideas start cancelling ideas out and eventually I'm left thinking "I wish I was watching that Rick Rude/Roddy Piper cage match right about now." It's frustrating, because what I liked about this I *really* liked. Virgil was awesome as the guy that just would not let Savage get out of that cage, climbing up the outside of it to keep him from getting out, slamming the door on his head, etc. There's a great spot where Savage hits an atomic drop on DiBiase - which he sells by going face-first into the cage and bouncing back into another one of his awesome snap back bumps - and he starts crawling around the ring looking for the door. He's groggy and doesn't quite know where he is, checks two corners and finds no door, checks the third and sees it *is* the door, starts crawling out and Virgil just slams it shut in his face. This is the big blue cage, so there's no Terry Gordy force behind it and Savage doesn't eat it like Kerry Von Erich did, because if he did I can only imagine his head would be left looking like Robert Patrick's when Arnie shot him in the face with a shotgun that one time, but it's a really cool spot regardless, made even better by Savage's theatrics beforehand. Ted's near escape out the door right afterwards is a HOT near escape, although Virgil standing right in front of him and not doing anything while Savage is literally dragging him back in by the tights seemed sort of ass backwards given his involvement the rest of the time. Finish is also pretty cool in that Virgil continues to be the bane of Randy's existence, heading up the cage to cut him off AGAIN, only this time DiBiase's right there with him. Some dude even jumps the rail and climbs the cage to help Savage, although he does a U-turn as soon as Virgil starts trying to punch him in the face. Double noggin-knocker puts Ted back in the ring (never noticed if he did the snap bump when he fell but it wouldn't surprise me if he did) and Virgil on the floor, and Savage's escape gets a MONSTER pop. If you don't mind 'my turn, your turn' style pacing and structure then I could see you really digging this. Not enough to the point where I could understand it being pimped as a must-see cage match, but certainly more than I did. I still think there's enough here for it to be at least "fun", but if it's laid out better then I think it could be really fucking good. I'm interested in seeing what they do with the Philly cage match, at least.

Randy Savage v Ted DiBiase (WrestleFest, 7/30/88)

Right after I watched this I thought it was probably their best match. Upon further reflection I'm not so sure. There's really isn't that much between this and the first two MSG matches, though. I think this one goes the longest, but they fill time with some new stuff, like Savage starting early by hitting the ropes, coming off with a low punch to the gut, hitting the other side and coming back with a knee lift that DiBiase sells by spilling to the floor. We also get Savage selling a leg injury for a couple minutes which is always good times, but it doesn't really go anywhere and he winds up switching between both legs so... well, I guess it wasn't that great. This has the best finish of the non-cage matches at least, and it comes following an awesome nearfall after Savage takes a drive-by chair shot to the head. Savage also reminds me of Dustin Rhodes from time to time in these matches, in the way he'll use the ropes and the corner to get back to his feet while he's taking a beating. Nothing observation, really, but I like Dustin and I like Savage and I thought that was pretty neat.

So with all four down, I can't say I'm disappointed that I never voted for any of them in a top 100. I definitely don't think any of them are bad, and the three non-cage matches are actively really good. The cage match has its moments but it's not really my thing. Out of all of them, I'm probably leaning to the 4/25 match as the best. They work a feud-starter as well as I would hope and it sets things up really nicely. The MSG return match with DiBiase getting his nose cracked is worked as the return match should be; full of Savage trying to kill a motherfucker and nothing like their first. I prefer Savage's early stretch of working the arm in the first match to anything in the second, though (DiBiase's awesome bumps are in both). Cage match is a fine MSG blow off all things considered; Savage got the win and that's what people were there to see. The WrestleFest match felt like a non-cage "blowoff", and that gave the people what they wanted as well. Combine elements from all of the regular singles matches and you've got yourself a FOUR STAR MATCH~ or something. So yeah, 4/25 was my favourite, but I wouldn't have voted for it had I got a chance to re-watch it before submitting a ballot. Glad we got that cleared up.

Back to 1992 WCW next time.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

2010 MOTY List (Updated)

  1. Black Terry, Negro Navarro & Dr. Cerebro v Solar I, Zatura & Suicida (IWRG, 1/28)
  2. Dr. Cerebro v El Hijo Del Diablo (IWRG, 1/31)
  3. Angelico, Solar I & Ultraman Jr. v Negro Navarro, Trauma I & Trauma II (IWRG, 1/7)
  4. Rey Mysterio v CM Punk (WWE, 2/12)
  5. Trauma I & Trauma II v Suicida & Zatura (IWRG, 1/14)
  6. Christian v Drew McIntyre (WWE, 7/30)
  7. Rey Mysterio v Jack Swagger (WWE, 6/11)
  8. The Young Bucks v El Generico & Chuck Taylor (PWG, 2/27)
  9. Chris Masters v Dolph Ziggler (WWE, 5/13)
  10. Rey Mysterio v CM Punk (WWE, 3/28)
  11. Black Terry, Dr. Cerebro & El Hijo Del Signo v Pantera, El Hijo Del Pantera & Zatura (IWRG, 2/11)
  12. Black Terry & Dr. Cerebro v Gringo Loco & El Hijo Del Diablo (IWRG, 2/7)
  13. Black Terry & Dr. Cerebro v Gringo Loco & El Hijo Del Diablo (IWRG, 1/24)
  14. Bryan Danielson v Kaval (FCW, 2/7)
  15. Black Terry, Dr. Cerebro & Trauma I v Pantera, El Hijo Del Pantera & Zatura (IWRG, 2/18)
  16. John Cena & Evan Bourne v Edge & Sheamus (WWE, 5/31)
  17. Chris Masters v Luke Gallows (WWE, 6/25)
  18. Christian v Ezekiel Jackson (WWE, 1/31)
  19. Rey Mysterio v CM Punk (WWE, 4/25)
  20. Black Terry, Dr. Cerebro & Cerebro Negro v Pantera, Suicida & Zatura (IWRG, 1/7)
  21. Rey Mysterio v Tyson Kidd (WWE, 3/25)
  22. Rey Mysterio v Dolph Ziggler (WWE, 8/13)
  23. Evan Bourne & Yoshi Tatsu v Chavo Guerrero & Zack Ryder (WWE, 4/8)
  24. Christian & Kane v Ezekiel Jackson & William Regal (WWE, 1/26)
  25. Negro Navarro v Angelico (IWRG, 1/21)
  26. The Undertaker v Rey Mysterio (WWE, 1/31)
  27. Evan Bourne v Zack Ryder (WWE, 5/27)


7. Rey Mysterio v Jack Swagger (WWE, 6/11)

I watched a big batch of 2010 WWE TV stuff last night and this was the match I was most looking forward to seeing. It didn't disappoint. Swagger looked great here, pacing things really well, dishing out nasty cut-offs and doing a bunch of stuff when he was in control that I dug. At the start he's great at chasing Rey around the ring in the proverbial game of cat and mouse, and when he winds up flying out to the floor it looks really cool. I enjoy those kinds of spots in Rey matches, but they always look sort of contrived; here it didn't come across as such. Well, I didn't think so, anyway. Stryker on commentary makes a good point about Rey using Swagger's own momentum against him, and it's unusual that I don't come away from a match thinking the guy's a jackass. Swagger's bodyscissors looked awesome here too, the way he'd crank it and add extra little bits of nastiness like rubbing Rey's face into the canvas. Wrapping Rey's entire body around the ring post as a set up was fucking great. He also hits a clothesline and a big boot to the face as cut-offs and they looked REAL awesome, especially the boot. Mysterio's always great at taking stuff like that, too. My favourite spot of the match is probably Swagger's variation of the Kurt Angle 'run up the ropes and suplex the guy off the top' spot, but this one caught me totally by surprise and didn't have any shitty no-selling beforehand. And Mysterio literally hurls himself the entire length of the ring just for the fuck of it, so you gotta love that. I thought the finish was a little too out of nowhere initially, but the more I thought about it the more I really liked it, especially because it came across as a combo of big time moves in quick succession and not a quick pin off a surprise finisher. Rey's Smackdown! match with Punk is still my US MOTY, and I like the Christian/Drew match from 7/30 juuuust a little more, but this is deeply up there and rocked big time.

9. Chris Masters v Dolph Ziggler (WWE, 5/13)

Well this was pretty awesome. If the Rey/Swagger match was the one I was most looking forward to seeing of all the stuff I watched last night, this was #2 on that list and, much like Rey/Swagger, it didn't disappoint. I've been hearing Masters is having a really, really good year so far and I've been looking forward to actually seeing some of it. I already like Ziggler a lot anyway, so yeah, I was psyched for this. Thought they managed to get each others' finishing hold over really nicely, especially with how they'd struggle and fight to escape it, and it created some cool moments. The finish is a good example, and Masters took it better than anybody I ever recall seeing before. I can honestly say Masters lived up to my expectations here, selling great and building stuff to and around the Masterlock. He's also a fucking awesome bumper for a guy with his build and he takes a totally insane flat back bump off the apron to the floor that looked amazing. Speaking of bumps, Ziggler is probably my favourite bump machine heel in wrestling. He eats a couple big bumps of his own here; the first being a face plant that got HUGE height and then a really cool spill out to the floor that leads to the aforementioned nutso Masters bump. His brutal face-first slingshot bump into the turnbuckle is where it's at, though. Seriously one of the best slingshot spots I've ever seen, and Masters' way of hitting the move to begin with is great in its own right since there's no obvious signs of the opponent having to cooperate. Great stuff.

17. Chris Masters v Luke Gallows (WWE, 6/22)

This was another great little Masters match. Gallows is very good in his own right, but this and the Ziggler match have definitely persuaded me to seek out a bunch more 2010 Chris Masters. He takes another bump out to the floor here that really wasn't that far off the one in the Ziggler match, plus he's great selling the lower back and eating a bunch of stiff strikes from Gallows. His shoulderblocks are probably the best going this side of John Cena, too. Nice finish, as well. Gonna need to see those Gallows/Mysterio matches soon. This is exactly what I want from a 7 minute WWE match these days.

22. Rey Mysterio v Dolph Ziggler (WWE, 8/13)

This was another good match and I think I already prefer Ziggler as a pinballing heel to Curt Hennig. Although he's definitely not all about the bumps anymore and has managed to work them into a formula that's built around the sleeper hold. He's basically really fucking good now. I'm fairly sure I could watch every Mysterio match from 2010 and at least enjoy it on some level. He spends about 85% of this working from the bottom, but I thought Ziggler was, at worst, interesting here, spending much of the time wearing Rey down with a chin lock. I thought he did a nice job of always keeping it interesting and at times it reminded me of how Randy Orton would work a chin lock on Mysterio, cranking it and never content to just sit there. There's one spot where Ziggler's doing a headstand to apply more pressure before falling forward into a neck bridge to crank it even more. He also hits a Japanese Ocean Cyclone suplex as a cut-off spot and holy fuck if that ain't the first time I've seen *anyone* use that in the States. Final few minutes are choice and this is a perfectly fine way to spend ten minutes.

23. Evan Bourne & Yoshi Tatsu v Chavo Guerrero & Zack Ryder (WWE, 4/8)

I enjoyed this a little less than the Bourne/Cena v Edge/Sheamus tag from RAW, but this had a ton of cool shit in it and was a super nifty little tag match. Bourne's such a great FIP and Ryder and Chavo are really good at dishing out punishment. Great spot where they hit a backbreaker/hilo combination that looked real nasty. If Chavo worked the indies he'd be better than all buy a few on that scene. He and Bourne always have good chemistry and he was great at getting into position for, and then taking, all of Bourne's stuff. Tatsu busts out a cool as Hell octopus stretch thing here and he's a big part of a really neat finish.

27. Evan Bourne v Zack Ryder (WWE, 5/27)

Pretty sure this is my first time seeing a full Zack Ryder singles match. Some of his offence is pretty goofy looking but holy shit if Bourne doesn't do his damndest to make it look brutal. Bourne spends most of this taking a beating, but he has really good hope spots and there's probably only one guy in the company that takes a better beating than Bourne so it's not like I can complain. This was the first match I watched last night so I'm struggling to remember much in the way of specifics, but there was one hot shot across the top rope that looked awesome. Think I'm gonna try and get a hold of Ryder's matches with Christian.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

2010 MOTY List (Updated)

  1. Black Terry, Negro Navarro & Dr. Cerebro v Solar I, Zatura & Suicida (IWRG, 1/28)
  2. Dr. Cerebro v El Hijo Del Diablo (IWRG, 1/31)
  3. Angelico, Solar I & Ultraman Jr. v Negro Navarro, Trauma I & Trauma II (IWRG, 1/7)
  4. Rey Mysterio v CM Punk (WWE, 2/12)
  5. Trauma I & Trauma II v Suicida & Zatura (IWRG, 1/14)
  6. Christian v Drew McIntyre (WWE, 7/30)
  7. The Young Bucks v El Generico & Chuck Taylor (PWG, 2/27)
  8. Rey Mysterio v CM Punk (WWE, 3/28)
  9. Black Terry, Dr. Cerebro & El Hijo Del Signo v Pantera, El Hijo Del Pantera & Zatura (IWRG, 2/11)
  10. Black Terry & Dr. Cerebro v Gringo Loco & El Hijo Del Diablo (IWRG, 2/7)
  11. Black Terry & Dr. Cerebro v Gringo Loco & El Hijo Del Diablo (IWRG, 1/24)
  12. Bryan Danielson v Kaval (FCW, 2/7)
  13. Black Terry, Dr. Cerebro & Trauma I v Pantera, El Hijo Del Pantera & Zatura (IWRG, 2/18)
  14. John Cena & Evan Bourne v Edge & Sheamus (WWE, 5/31)
  15. Christian v Ezekiel Jackson (WWE, 1/31)
  16. Rey Mysterio v CM Punk (WWE, 4/25)
  17. Black Terry, Dr. Cerebro & Cerebro Negro v Pantera, Suicida & Zatura (IWRG, 1/7)
  18. Rey Mysterio v Tyson Kidd (WWE, 3/25)
  19. Christian & Kane v Ezekiel Jackson & William Regal (WWE, 1/26)
  20. Negro Navarro v Angelico (IWRG, 1/21)
  21. The Undertaker v Rey Mysterio (WWE, 1/31)

7. The Young Bucks v El Generico & Chuck Taylor (PWG As The Worm Turns, 2/27)

This was recommended to me by someone that generally has very similar tastes to my own and knows full well that I pretty much hate current indy wrestling. But I said I was gonna try and watch some indy stuff for this thing, and I like Generico, and the Bucks as a pair of scummy little shitheads is something that interests me, so all of that equated to me actually being somewhat psyched to see an indy match. From 2010. The impression I got from the recommendation is that it would be less of an indy-fied workrate tag and more like a southern style tag. The indy finishing stretch would obviously remain, but that kind of thing in tag matches annoys me less than in singles matches provided it doesn't turn into a clusterfuck with anybody pinning anybody for 2.9999 counts. So yeah, I was somewhat psyched to see an indy match. From 2010. I honestly can't say I was disappointed. Finishing stretch went on a little longer than I'd have liked and it was bordering on Marufuji levels of cutesy at a couple points, but I come to expect some stuff to seem really choreographed nowadays anyway, and for the most part it was all real nifty and it was hit pretty much perfectly. And the Marufuji comparison is probably unfair as well since I get the impression that the vast majority of stuff they were pulling out is part of their actual movesets as opposed to Marufuji's improvised street dance bullshit. I think I need to see more Young Bucks heel stuff because I'm not sure if I think they're legit good heels or if they're insisting upon themselves and trying too hard. Actually, fuck it, that's crap and me being a grumpy prick, because the heat they were getting was awesome and one guy in the front row wanted to MURDER them both, so yeah, big props to them because actual heat in the indies today seems to be rare. And the blond one... Nick, I think... he seemed particularly weasly and irritating so I guess I was getting worked as well. I imagine I'd get easily burned out if I tried to watch a bunch of 2010 indy stuff in one sitting, but something like this every few days would go down no problem. Definitely glad I gave this a look.

18. Rey Mysterio v Tyson Kidd (WWE, 3/25)

I'm guessing I liked this less than most, but I still thought it was really good and a pretty awesome showcase for Kidd. Well, "showcase" to me at least, since I'm fairly sure this is the first Kidd match I've seen that gets any decent time. Really choice finishing run here, and it came after an equally solid heat segment on Mysterio. Also dug Rey's interactions with the other members of the Hart Dynasty.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

2010 MOTY List (Updated)

  1. Black Terry, Negro Navarro & Dr. Cerebro v Solar I, Zatura & Suicida (IWRG, 1/28)
  2. Dr. Cerebro v El Hijo Del Diablo (IWRG, 1/31)
  3. Angelico, Solar I & Ultraman Jr. v Negro Navarro, Trauma I & Trauma II (IWRG, 1/7)
  4. Rey Mysterio v CM Punk (WWE, 2/12)
  5. Trauma I & Trauma II v Suicida & Zatura (IWRG, 1/14)
  6. Christian v Drew McIntyre (WWE, 7/30)
  7. Rey Mysterio v CM Punk (WWE, 3/28)
  8. Black Terry, Dr. Cerebro & El Hijo Del Signo v Pantera, El Hijo Del Pantera & Zatura (IWRG, 2/11)
  9. Black Terry & Dr. Cerebro v Gringo Loco & El Hijo Del Diablo (IWRG, 2/7)
  10. Black Terry & Dr. Cerebro v Gringo Loco & El Hijo Del Diablo (IWRG, 1/24)
  11. Bryan Danielson v Kaval (FCW, 2/7)
  12. Black Terry, Dr. Cerebro & Trauma I v Pantera, El Hijo Del Pantera & Zatura (IWRG, 2/18)
  13. John Cena & Evan Bourne v Edge & Sheamus (WWE, 5/31)
  14. Christian v Ezekiel Jackson (WWE, 1/31)
  15. Rey Mysterio v CM Punk (WWE, 4/25)
  16. Black Terry, Dr. Cerebro & Cerebro Negro v Pantera, Suicida & Zatura (IWRG, 1/7)
  17. Christian & Kane v Ezekiel Jackson & William Regal (WWE, 1/26)
  18. Negro Navarro v Angelico (IWRG, 1/21)
  19. The Undertaker v Rey Mysterio (WWE, 1/31)


6. Christian v Drew McIntyre (WWE, 7/30)

Pretty sure this is my first time seeing McIntyre. Well, I've seen bits and pieces of him, but the only other match involving him that I've seen in its entirety was the Money in the Bank match from that PPV there and I was wrecked at the time so that doesn't really count, does it? I'd be shocked if he's had a better singles match than this since coming to WWE, so if I were to seek out more Drew McIntyre I'd definitely set the bar lower, but shit, this was great and not far off the February Rey/Punk match as my favourite WWE match this year (I've seen, like, 15 WWE matches since the turn of the year so take that for what it's worth). It's been said plenty of times already, but Christian really has a great little TV match formula that he can plug more or less anyone into and keep it interesting. In some ways this felt like a smaller scale version of his awesome 2/09 match with Swagger in that it's built around his arm being picked apart and him selling it like a total king. Starts out with Drew taking a nasty looking bump over the top rope that splats him on his back, and then directly afterwards he's flinging himself back-first into the ring apron off a dropkick. The transition into Christian having his arm worked over is legit one of my favourite spots of the year: Drew crawls under the ring as if he's trying to get away somehow, so Christian tries to grab hold of him and Drew rips him shoulder-first into the metal frame of the ring. Drew's really great at working the arm, never content to just sit in holds, always adding little touches to keep things interesting, like grating his forearm across Christian's face while he's got him in an armbar. He even gives him a fuggin' shoulderbreaker on the STEPS. It was way cool. Christian's obviously tops at selling all of this. Final couple minutes are nice and heated and Christian's selling is good enough to make it seem like McIntyre could win this time. I was thinking a couple weeks ago that I might start watching a bunch of 2010 WWE stuff in an effort to catch up. If I can find 10 matches that I enjoy as much as this then it'll be worth it.

13. John Cena & Evan Bourne v Edge & Sheamus (WWE, 5/31)

This is the kind of match I could legit watch all day - short southern style tags in front of a crowd that gives at least half a shit. Match is a ton of fun with Bourne being a really choice face in peril and Cena working the apron like crazy. I haven't watched *that* much WWE since... I dunno, some time around Wrestlemania 23, but I'm assuming Cena's always been a really good apron guy? I mean, this was some seriously great apron work; totally animated and never content to let the heat drop. Bourne is another guy I really ought to watch more of. I dug the shit out of his exchanges with Sheamus here (who I thought looked far better than Edge, btw). There's one awesome hope spot where Bourne throws a couple nasty leg kicks - that Sheamus sells incredibly well - and then he LEAPS at Cena for the tag. Sheamus catches him, teases it for a second and throws him across the ring, but Bourne lands on his feet and tries another dash towards the corner, so Sheamus murders him with that double axe thing (which looks pretty bossy in general) and Bourne's sell is just magic. Edge hasn't looked good in ANYTHING I've seen him in this year, and I say that as someone that's way more apathetic to him as opposed to someone that actively dislikes him. Cena's still the man, though. This was tight.

Friday, 13 August 2010

57 Channels (And Nothin' On But 1992 WCW)

Bobby Eaton v Dustin Rhodes (Power Hour, 5/8/92)

This only clocks in at about 7 minutes, but man it’s good. First half is sort of built around Eaton trying to get the upper hand with cheapshots, but Dustin just gets more and more pissed off and keeps finding new ways to smack him in the face. Dustin’s nose gets busted open and there’s a great spot where he pulls a Ken Shamrock “snap”, drops to one knee and rifles Eaton right in the chops with an uppercut. Eaton finally takes over with a chop block, and Eaton really has a great chop block. He doesn’t come from behind with it like you’d usually see guys do; he’ll come from the side or even the front and it looks way nastier than most guys’. There’s only a few minutes of leg work before the run in finish, but Dustin selling a bad leg is always good times; being whipped into the ropes and collapsing because he can’t stand, rallying back and leapfrogging Bobby only to collapse on the bad leg again; it’s the stuff you expect out of Dustin once you’ve seen enough of him, but it’s always great. Run in finish is what it is, but this was a bossy little TV match that I must’ve missed the first time I went through Will’s Dangerous Alliance comp.

Bobby Eaton v Dustin Rhodes (Worldwide, 5/9/92)

Not quite as good as the last match, but they get the same amount of time and they work a different sort of match, which I dug. Some great early bumping from Eaton and both guys throwing awesome punches remains a constant, though. Eaton loves to do the spot where he’ll eat a bionic elbow, fall into the middle rope and bounce back into another one, rinse repeat a couple times, and he does that spot here, capping it off by taking an AWESOME uppercut from Dustin and sailing over the top rope. The uppercut looks really spectacular; he rotates his arm all the way around like he’s “winding it up” and conks Eaton right in the chin. Eaton works the arm here instead of the leg after Dustin clotheslines the ring post. The arm work section isn’t as awesome a little work over section as the leg section in the last match, but we get the clean finish here that we didn’t in the last. Not something one needs to go out of their way to see, but it’s a fine way to spend 6 or 7 minutes all the same.

Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes v Bobby Eaton & Steve Austin (Power Hour, 5/16/92)

Unsurprisingly this was good. We’re a day away from Wargames so this is basically a little taster of what’s to come from four of the guys that’ll be in it, but we get a nifty opening babyface shine period, a couple solid FIP sections, and then we even get a clean finish to boot. Couple cool spots in this that I don’t think I’ve seen in any of the other matches from ’92, like Dustin leapfrogging both Windham and Austin at the same time as Barry’s trying to push Austin into the ropes and bring him back for a roll up, Austin holding on and turning around into an oncoming Dustin flying lariat. Not one of the best tags that year, and by the time I’ve finished this project I wouldn’t be surprised if I rank close 40 tags ahead of it, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check it out regardless.

WCW 1992 Project

Monday, 9 August 2010

Closets Are For Hangers, Winners Use 1992 WCW

Arn Anderson & Bobby Eaton v The Steiner Brothers (Saturday Night, 9/5/92)

My memory of this is that it was one of the best "traditional" tags the Steiners had ever been in. By that I basically meant one of the best Steiners tags that used straight southern formula. I guess I'd still say it is, but I think I prefer their Saturday Night match with Eaton and Larry earlier in the year by juuuust a little. Problem with this is that we're in Wattsville and that means we get much less stooging and the Steiners making people their bitch in the opening stages in favour of more "real wrestling/matwork". The Eaton/Larry match had the early stooging and bitching. That was awesome. This... not so much. Rick just looks lost, and none of the other three seem to be particularly inspired by the thought of a Watts-like opening, either. It's still a babyface control segment, but at points it suffers from the same time killing vibe as a few of the tags after Watts' arrival. Once Scott takes a header into the post and Michael Hayes (who's managing Arn and Eaton now) wraps his arm around it a few times, things pick up nicely. The last two Arn and Eaton tags I watched had them going to town on the arm and it's the same deal here. Scott's a perfectly good face in peril again, too. Finish rocks on top of it all. This is still a really good match, but some of what they're doing pre-Scott in peril sort of meanders. Take the opening stretch of the Eaton/Larry match and stick it onto the beginning of this instead and THEN you've got yourself one of the best Steiners tags, "traditional" or otherwise.

WCW 1992 Project


Arn Anderson, Rick Rude & Bobby Eaton v Sting & The Steiner Brothers (WCW Worldwide, 10/3/92)

Oh FUCK man, Rude is STUPID GREAT in this. I know this is an Arn Anderson project, but holy shit does Rude just blow the lid off this whole thing by being totally awesome, thus I'm gonna spend most of this blowing Rude.

Starts out with him and Sting and it's great. He challenges him to a pose-down then throws a bitchfit when the crowd pick Sting as their winner; he leapfrogs him and does his gyrating hips taunt only to turn around and get smacked in the face; and he takes the double atomic drop spot where he sells it like he's Rick Rude and it's THE BEST sell of anything ever. Then Scott tags in and Rude wants a test of strength, but seems to have second thoughts when Scott accepts. He eventually partakes, gets Scott down to one knee and does his gyrating hips spot right in Scott's face, WHILE they're in the knucklelock. This of course leads to Scott powering back up and doing his own version of the gyrating hips, and Rude's pissed off again. Really cool spot as Scott has Rude in a bearhug, tagging in Rick and just passing him right along into another bearhug without Rude's feet touching the ground. Rick hits another atomic drop and Rude sells it like Flair would sell walking out of the corner after being chopped or punched to bits, only Rude doesn't take the Flair Flop at the end; he takes a blind swing at the ref' and THEN falls flat on his face. Then he gets back up, no idea where he is, notices Rick behind him and shits his pants, tagging in Arn.

First five minutes consist of Rude trying and failing miserably to match up with all of the babyfaces on his own. It was the greatest.

Wouldn't matter who gets in after Rude; whether it's Arn Anderson or not, there's no way anybody's topping Rude's early stooging. But this is Arn we're talking about and he gives it a go, anyway. I love his reaction to the crowd barking along with Rick: "OOOH OOOH OOOH... MY ASS!"

The transition into Scott playing FIP looked like there was some miscommunication between him and Bobby, but Scott's probably underrated if anything as an FIP in general, and he was good here, too. Naturally Rude is kingsized. Giving Scotty a return bearhug was cool, and his forearm smashes to the kidneys always look great, but the spot of the match might be him cutting Scott off from making the tag by jumping on his back and SNOT ROCKETING him right in front of Sting and Rick. And we get a trademark Arn boot in the face after coming off the middle rope as a lead in to the hot tag, just for a little extra.

They head to the finish almost right after this, but it's clean and the crowd eat it up, so I can't really complain about not getting to see more RUDE.

The Dangerous Alliance was all but completely done for at this point in 1992, but this was as good as all but a few of the Dangerous Alliance/Sting's Squadron multi-man tags from the first half of the year, and on top of that I don't remember seeing Rude really get a chance to let loose as a stooge like this since he debuted, either. Makes me want to go back and watch some of his early WWF stuff. This was a blast.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

We Learned More From 1992 WCW, Baby, Than We Ever Learned In School

Sting v Vader (Power Hour, 2/15/92)

I wasn't even aware this existed, but I'm glad I stumbled across it because I thought it was an awesome little 7 minute match. It's basically a primer for what would come in their feud over the next year, but the finish doesn't give anything away and they still manage to cram what time they do get with great stuff. Starts out with Vader half slapping-half punching Sting a couple times and it wipes almost half his face paint clean off. They play up the same idea they do at the Bash match later in year in that Vader can throw one big potatoey right hand and that'll stop Sting dead in his tracks, while Sting needs to throw bunches of them to even come close to dropping Vader. I like how he hits the Stinger Splash early here too; there's no way anybody's losing clean yet, and there's no point giving too much away at this stage, so get the spot in early (it's the first move Sting hits) and Vader recovering sharpish doesn't hurt its credibility. Awesome transition into Vader's control segment, with Sting charging at him on the floor and Vader just picking him up and giving him a stun gun across the guard rail. Sting lets Vader pretty much assault him for a few minutes - it would turn into more than a few minutes in the future - before hitting a big German suplex, and from there they head towards the finish. Like I said, nobody's losing clean at this point, but Vader's always willing to really throw himself into a ringpost bump, so as far as count out finishes go, this one was pretty good. In some ways I guess this is a condensed version of their Bash match. It's definitely not as good as that, but for 7 minutes you can't ask for a whole lot more. I'm surprised I haven't heard of anyone comping this whole feud - with the number of singles and tag matches they had against each other I figured someone would've made a 3 disc set or something. Anyways, more 1992 goodness. Stumbling across it by accident makes it even sweeter.

Barry Windham v Young Pistol Tracey (Saturday Night, 4/11/92)

Young Pistol Tracey is Tracey Smothers, btw. This is basically a 4 minute squash, but I downloaded this whole Saturday Night show earlier and watched about 40 minutes of it, and for a 4 minute squash I kinda dug it. I feel like I ought to seek out more Smothers. For a guy I tend to enjoy quite a bit, I can't think of very much Tracey Smothers that I've seen. I mark for his redneck karate shtick, but he still doesn't throw a roundhouse kick like Zbyszko. Windham has such an awesome superplex. The float over at the end gives it a little touch of class and grace. Windham's the man. There's a Freebirds/Taylor Made Men US Tag Title match on this show that gets a good amount of time. No idea what to expect out of that, but I'm looking forward to it nonetheless.

Arn Anderson & Bobby Eaton v Brian Pillman & Marcus Bagwell (Worldwide, 8/15/92)

Lesson to be learned from this and the Larry match the previous week? Don't tag with Pillman, because you get your fuckin' arm broken. This barely goes 5 minutes, but Arn and Eaton pick up right where they left off against Zbyszko and this time they direct it at young Bagwell. I'm probably wrong, but I think the nasty double team move Arn and Eaton have started using at this point is the first double team move that's actually been treated as a legit "stick a fork in it" double team finisher over the course of the whole year. Sort of reminds me of the angle Watts ran in '86 where Gordy and Hayes broke Williams' arm. Match is pretty much a vehicle to further the idea that Arn and Eaton are going to take out the Steiners for Doc and Gordy, but it definitely works as such. Haven't seen the eventual Arn & Eaton/Steiners match in years, but I'm looking forward to checking it out again soon. I do remember liking it, at least.

WCW 1992 Project