Monday, 20 February 2012

Royal Rumble 1994

Well this was a pretty fucking good show. I actually sat and watched the entire thing in one sitting last night. One sitting. I NEVER do that anymore. Tenryu being in the main event was a decent motivator, but everything else was at least solid.

Bam Bam Bigelow v Tatanka

I remember this mostly for Bam Bam stopping Tatanka's war dance/Hulk-Up by blasting him in the back of the head with an enziguri and then mockingly doing a war dance of his own while the crowd boo him really loudly. On top of that one spot I remembered the actual match being good, and for once my memory held up, because this was indeed a good match. Bam Bam strikes me as clearly being one of the best guys in the company at this point. He takes a HUGE DDT bump here, has some great cut-offs, and generally comes across as a guy you don't want to fuck with. Plus his head is covered in tattoos. His enziguri looks real nasty, but there's another spot where they're both standing and he jumps up and squashes Tatanka's head between his ankles. Imagine a pair of giant hedge clippers closing on a rose bush. Finish is good too, with Bigelow crashing and burning on a missed moonsault and Tatanka following it up with a cross body off the top. Fine way to start a PPV.

The Quebecers v Bret & Owen Hart (WWF Tag Team Titles Match)

I'm assuming most people remember this for the Owen turn and subsequent "That's why I kicked your leg out of your leg" promo (I know I did), in which case everything leading up to that has been lost in the shuffle, because this was a really fucking good match. Bret and Owen controlling things at the start is good, then Bret plays face in peril and that's good, then Owen comes in and throws the Quebecers around and THAT'S good. Owen has an awesome belly-to-belly, and as soon as he got the hot tag and started whipping the Quebecers into the ropes I was hoping he'd belly-to-belly suplex someone...and sure enough he did. Then we hit the part most people probably remember (other than the post-match), with Bret taking a spill out to the floor (because Polo held the ropes open as he was running off) and coming up clutching his knee. Bret is really awesome at selling the leg from this point on (not just in this match, but in the rumble match later). The only thing he manages to put together offensively the rest of the match is a half-assed sharpshooter that lasts about 3 seconds before he crumbles in a heap again. Other than that he just sells the crap out of the injury the whole time. There's a great segment on the floor where the Quebecers mug him and Owen keeps trying to come around and protect his brother. Jacques nails him in the knee with a chair, Pierre jumps off the steps and lands with his entire body weight on the leg, and Jacques sneaks all the way around the ring while everybody else has congregated at the other side so he can whack Bret in the knee with Polo's putter. Eventually the ref' throws the match out because Bret is borderline-crippled, and that's what sets Owen off. You can sort of see where he's coming from with this. He's RIGHT THERE for the tag, but Bret has other ideas even though he can barely stand up. Little brother is ready and waiting, but big brother tries to go it alone. All you had to do was tag, Bret. All you had to do was tag. I might've kicked his leg out of his leg, too.

Razor Ramon v IRS (WWF Intercontinental Title Match)

This was decent enough; certainly better than their King of the Ring match later in the year. This at least has a clear layout/direction, whereas the KoR match just kind of plodded along with stuff happening and then ended. Razor takes his cool over the top rope bump here and Irwin does the same spot he did against Savage where he comes off the middle rope, catches Razor's leg, tosses it aside and hits a regular elbow drop. Schmozz finish has Michaels run down and hit Razor with the "fake" IC belt, then Irwin pins him and wins, but then some other shit happens with a ref' bumped ref' and another ref' and Razor winds up winning in the end. This still has nothing on the finish to the next match.

Yokozuna v The Undertaker (Casket Match, WWF Title)

Man, the Undertaker promos leading up to this were great, all dark and ominous with Paul Bearer being awesome. Calaway (and Pringle) really nailed that shit. This starts out pretty well, with Undertaker being indestructible and Yoko bumping around and being all bug-eyed. He rams Undertaker's head into the steps, but Undertaker just whips his head back and Yoko sees the whites of his eyes and shits himself. Actually, everything leading up to the million run-ins was good. Not a spectacular brawl or anything, but I dig watching both of these guys do their thing. THEN we get the million run-ins. Tenryu and Kabuki run in and Tenryu throws chops at a zombie. I don't remember Kabuki throwing his awesome uppercuts, but one out of two ain't bad. Bigelow hits the scene at some point and he even looks great standing around directing traffic, getting hit with a salt bucket, not making it look blatantly obvious he's just WAITING there to be punched while the Undertaker fights off 60 people. Fatu completely crushes Undertaker with a splash off the top. I mean, God damn he has an amazing top rope splash. Once they finally stuff him in the casket (after the power of the urn has escaped or...some shit), they're wheeling him up the ramp when the lights go out. Undertaker talks about how he won't rest in peace (cuttin' a promo inside the casket) and then he ascends to the heavens. Where did he go? Nobody knows. It took Leslie Nielson 8 months to find him.

Royal Rumble Match

Not really one of the better rumbles, but it had its highlights. The stuff with Diesel worked really well and even got him a standing ovation and a Diesel chant when he eventually got eliminated. Michaels was really good here too. He's a guy that will hurl himself around endlessly in these matches and he's always a part of a few great near-eliminations. His elimination was probably the best of the whole match, just getting launched out right over the ring post and taking a really nasty looking spill. Bret is still selling his leg like a trooper, and by the end you get the sense the crowd are ready to take to him as the guy running with the ball. When they did the co-winner bit the reactions to him were far more favourable than they were to Luger. Plus him just being in there meant there was always something for someone to focus on. There'll be moments where you don't have anyone to pair off with, so just head over and start stomping on Bret Hart's knee. He won't mind; that's what he's there for. Samu takes an absolutely horrendous "bump" into the ropes early on that I'm sure he would've thought twice about if he knew it'd tear Mick Foley's ear off a few months down the line. He tries to clothesline both Steiner brothers and ends up hanging himself in the ropes, but the way he totally HURLS himself into it looked like it could've yolked his head clean off his shoulders. Just crazy. Still, Tenryu was probably my favourite guy in this. He wasn't necessarily the "best" guy in it, but the second he got in there my attention was focused completely on him for practically the entire remainder. He knows nobody at this party, but his girlfriend dragged him along and now she's disappeared somewhere and he's left to mingle with people he's never met. He's not much of a socialite and doesn't really fit in at these shindigs. His brand of humour might seem strange to these people. There are times where he walks around the ring with nobody to play with, and he's not exactly eager enough to initiate conversation himself, but whenever somebody ELSE Greg Valentine. You'd think those two would get along swimmingly. Two of the stiffest bastards in wrestling history. Guess what they do? They chop each other really hard and at one point Valentine just fucking clubs Tenryu right in the face. I'd say that qualifies as swimmingly. Tenryu's coming in to this as one of Mr. Fuji's hired guns that was sent to take out Lex Luger, so naturally you get plenty of Tenryu/Luger interaction. Luger has wrestled Ric Flair several thousand times at this point in his career, so he's a guy that is used to having his chest lit up. Sure enough he lets Tenryu light him up good and often. Bob Holly is in this as a replacement for the 123 Kid. That bums me out because Waltman has looked awesome in all the '94 stuff so far, and Holly isn't...all that good. Tenryu chops him REAL hard and I'm wondering if this is what made him think it'd be fun to stiff the bejeezus out of rookies. Other than Valentine and Luger, Marty Jannetty was probably the most willing to mix it up with Tenryu, which was surprising but awesome. When he eventually gets eliminated he tries to scoot back in because he's Tenryu and belligerent as all Hell. I'm hoping there's a Tenryu/Valentine singles match out there somewhere.

1994 WWF Project

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