Thursday, 10 March 2016

Does an Islanders Comp Exist?

The Islanders v The Hart Foundation (Maple Leaf Gardens, 11/16/86)

I remember watching this match years ago and loving it. I don't remember why I loved it, but I know I did. And hey, I watched it again and still loved it! It's nice when that happens. I'd actually be surprised if there's a Hart Foundation tag that's significantly better than this. Crowd is behind them because we're in Toronto, so they cheer for things like Anvil cheapshots and Bret being surly. It doesn't lead to them playing to the crowd as such, but Bret appears to really tap into this and ramp up the shithousing in awesome ways, like at one point dragging Tama up the ramp and just fucking hurling him clean off the stage! Then he goes down after him, throws his head into the steps and casually chucks him back in the ring again. It was pretty badass. Tama ruled again and he's 100% solidified his spot on my Greatest Wrestler Ever ballot. He's super fun during the shine segment, then he'll go face in peril and take crazy bumps and sell his butt off. I should re-watch those Samoan Swat Team matches because I don't remember him being nearly this great in WCW. Haku is a nice counterpoint; like the older, tougher brother who people should know better than to fuck with. He's still Haku, the guy who bit someone's nose off for looking at him funny, but it's cool seeing him work as pure babyface hot tag guy (and maybe a little surreal). There was a great bit where he had Anvil in an armbar and thrust kicked Bret who was trying to come in for a sneak attack, then a little later Bret walks up to him and slaps him clean across the face, which in turn leads to Haku making the hot tag and paintbrushing Bret for his insolence.

The Islanders v Dream Team (Boston Gardens, 12/6/86)

Beefcake's involvement in this was basically limited to stooging, mugging and hitting a few stomps. Bulk of the heel end was held up by Valentine, and you may not be shocked to hear that the match probably wasn't hurt because of it. First stretch is total Valentine in peril. Usually you want Greg to be fish hooking people and elbowing them in the temple, but I dug him getting schooled by Haku and Tama. Tama is, once again, the funnest motherfucker in wrestling. His energy is utterly infectious. Then he eats a Valentine back elbow and SOARS over the top rope with an awesome bump to the floor, and good golly is Tama just about the greatest under-the-radar bumper ever. Brutus runs a few distraction spots and mostly sticks to the background so Valentine can deliver the ass beating, which includes a fucking Ganso Bomb-style piledriver! If there's a Tama/Valentine singles match I need to seek it out, because no way it wouldn't rule. This was fifteen minutes that flew by.

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