Friday, 23 October 2015

Grab Bag of the Day - Barry Windham

I'm trying to work my way back into watching stuff. In order to do this I'm just gonna fling some random names into the youtubes and see what comes up. This morning I settled on Barry Windham.

Barry Windham v Dean Malenko (WCW Nitro, 1998 maybe)

Not sure on the date, but it's around the time Flair and Bischoff were feuding (which I guess was all the time, but specifically on-screen leading to their Starrcade match). That was '98, right? Dusty comes out as special ref' and he's wearing an nWo shirt. I have no recollection of Dusty being in the nWo. How great was the Horsemen music, btw? Match goes like four minutes but it still reinforces how much more likely I am to enjoy Malenko in sub-ten minute installments than in lengthy affairs. He works super quick in the beginning and then he takes a nasty spill off the rope where it looked like he could've legit torn an ACL. The leg is already taped up and Windham goes after it, so I assume it's a thing they've put across on TV, but still, he took it like a madman. Windham just punches the knee and wraps him up in the corner and Dusty admonishes Malenko for grabbing onto the ropes for too long. He also does the "I've got something in my eye and can't see what's happening" shtick while Barry wraps Dean's leg around the rope and drops knees onto the hamstring. Then Dusty calls for a DQ and awards the match to Malenko and Bischoff comes out raging about some shit and it turns out it was a swerve and Dusty isn't really in the nWo after all. Or whatever.

Barry Windham v Too Cold Scorpio (WCW Saturday Night, 1/23/93)

This is every bit the Barry Windham I remember from random early 90s WCW episodes as a kid. The moustache, the awesome cowboy boots, the long blond hair, the surliness, the pot belly. I had some WCW action figures from around that time (looked great, but none of their limbs moved and they never had the same appeal as the WWF ones) and my Barry Windham figure was exactly that. That was Barry Windham to me. When I first started reading about 80s territory footage/wrestling outside my childhood WWF-and-to-a-lesser-extent-WCW bubble, I couldn't believe this idea that Barry Windham had once been a handsome young fan favourite. I just couldn't picture it. Turned out I was wrong and that THAT Barry Windham had in fact existed, but THIS Barry Windham will always be the one I remember best. Anyways, this isn't at the level of their Clash match from June, but Scorp/Barry is a quality match-up and this was about six minutes of neat stuff. Barry is just waaaay surly here. The first thing he does in the match is back up into the corner and smash Scorp in the ear with a mean right hook, then he laughs about it. It's also kind of cliche, like the whole "Jake Roberts was a master psychologist" talking point, but Windham just looked like a natural pro-wrestler (and Jake Roberts totally ruled). His bumps, his selling, the way he suplexes a guy - it all looks so graceful, like Thierry Henry galloping down the left wing.

Barry Windham & Arn Anderson v Road Warriors (WCW Saturday Night, 6/2/90)

God damn are Arn and Barry all-timers. One of my favourite nerdy things about this stupid hobby/obsession with wrestling is how you can pretty much forget about the existence of a certain wrestler that you would generally consider a favourite, only to go back and watch a ten minute match of theirs and instantly remember everything you love about them like it hasn't been about a year and a half since you last had them on your TV. Like, before this morning I don't remember the last time I watched an Arn Anderson or Barry Windham match. It's probably been longer since I watched an Arn match than a Windham match, but Arn is one of my ten favourite wrestlers ever and Barry isn't terribly far off that. It had just never really crossed my mind to sit and watch a bunch of Arn Anderson or Barry Windham matches. But then a "Barry Windham" youtube search takes me to this, and it's not like it's a blowaway great match or anything, but it's ten minutes of Arn and Barry being everything that made them favourites of mine however many years ago (though Barry doesn't quite look like my old action figure just yet). Arn stooges, Barry does perfect suplexes, both guys work over a babyface, both guys take their comeuppance. Both guys rule and this is why I love both guys.

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