The Fabulous Ones v Pretty Young Things (4/22/85)
Someone is in the process of putting together a Koko Ware career retrospective, right? Because fuuuuuck does that dude need one. I didn't really remember anything about this match, but after re-watching it I can totally see why I liked it enough initially to put it in my top 50. For starters it was a really bossy tag match. And then Koko Ware. Just...Koko Ware. I mean, it would be unfair to say this was ALL Koko Ware, because the Fabs were the Fabs and ruled it like they do, and Norvell Austin had some nasty looking offense and held up his end fine, but, like...Koko Ware.
This is JIP to about four minutes in, and normally that would disappoint me since this is a Koko Ware match and why would I want to miss four minutes of it? but then seconds - literally about three seconds - after we join the action Koko Ware goes forty feet in the air off a monkey flip. Then he comes back down and lands all mangled-like on his fucking neck. It's like he forgot he was supposed to rotate all the way over in mid-air, and by the time he did it was too late so he just decided to kind of turn to the side a little to reduce the chance of paralyzing himself. It turned out to be a good call, because he didn't wind up in a wheelchair (even to this day he's wheelchair-free! And he must be in his sixties at this point! A former pro-wrestler that made it to his sixties AND isn't crippled! KOKO WARE!).
First five minutes of this are all Lane and Keirn. There's an extended armbar spot that probably ends up going a little too long when Lane decides to just sit there and catch a breather, but they at least start out by doing some nifty stuff with it. Keirn takes him down and puts the hold on, then Lane comes in and strides across the ring to shit talk Koko, stepping on Austin like he wasn't there. Lane walks back to the corner, stepping on Austin again, and Koko follows him over because he's not done yet. He steps on Austin as well, then the ref' sends him back to his own corner, and as he's heading back across the ring he steps on Austin AGAIN. When it dawns on him what just happened he has this great "Aw shit, I got roped into that one" expression.
Match really hits its stride when the PYT take over. Lane ducks his head for a back body drop, but Austin kicks him in the chin and tags in Koko, and he and Austin are fucking relentless going after Lane. There's a half minute spell after the tag where they just unload on him with everything. The ref' is left scrambling trying to get the illegal man out and keep Keirn in his own corner, and the PYT use every second they can to dish out punishment. Ref' pushes Austin out of the ring so Koko chokes Lane; Keirn comes in to do something about it so ref' has to get him out; Koko and Austin both work on Lane; ref' has to put Austin back out so Tux Newman smacks Lane with a cane while ref's back is turned; ref' comes over to tell Newman to stay back so Austin and Koko go back to double teaming; Keirn comes in AGAIN so ref' has to get him out...I'm not sure how many people would rep the Pretty Young Things on a hypothetical Best Heel Tag Teams in US History list, but if this set is any indication they could sure as shit wreak havoc with the best of them.
I fucking loved Koko during the Lane-in-peril segment. He's got such a cool moveset and will bump like an absolute motherfucking psycho. The bump right at the start was almost certainly accidental, but he fearlessly flies across the ring and splats himself on a missed diving headbutt (called the Kokobutt! How awesome is THAT!?) later on. Watching the AWA set recently I've come to the conclusion Jim Brunzell had a GOAT candidate dropkick. Kevin Von Erich is another guy with a gorgeous dropkick. Well, Koko Ware hits a perfect dropkick in this, and I'm wondering if he's a guy that's always had an amazing dropkick and I've just never realized. Austin has a bunch of neat ways to hurt a guy in this, too. He gets down in a three-point stance as Lane is crawling towards his corner, and he flies into a JYD-style headbutt to cut him off. He really throws himself into it, like he's TRYING to break Lane's cheekbone. There's another cool bit later on where he kind of log rolls Lane from the front and holds onto him so Koko can come in and clean up.
When Lane gets the hot tag we're set for the big All Japan style home stretch with the three hundred nearfalls and pinfall saves. Then Lanny Poffo runs in and causes the DQ.
Sheeeeeit. That finish is like the pro-wrestling equivalent of a sudden stroke mid-coitus. This is the 80s -- I'm not expecting great - or even good - finishes every time out, but that was just really deflating and shitty. Disappointing end, but this was like 97% of a great match, so is there really THAT much to complain about?