Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Friday, February 29, 2008

Black History Month DAY 28

Batista v. Undertaker v. Big Daddy V v. Great Khail v. Finlay v. MVP 2/17/08

About a year ago the WWE had more black wrestlers then ever before. Now Booker T, Marcus Cor Von, Cryme Tyme and Bobby Lashley are all gone. Pretty much your two main black WWE wrestlers (not counting Money May of course) are in this Elimination chamber match. I had seen a ton of these matches, and I amused at how they are kind of worked like FMW land mine matches, with everything being built around bumps on the steel floor sections.

V takes some nasty bumps for a huge dude, and his offense looks really nasty. He is such a huge impressive dude, but is hurt by being in a promotion with so many other huge dudes. If you didn't have Kane and Undertaker and Umaga and Big Show and Great Khali I think he would be a bigger star.

MVP is the last guy in this match and he is a guy I have turned around on. He is a guy who got into wrestling by watching Dean Malenko ECW matches in jail. When he started he worked like a ECW juniors fan, lots of counters and goofy innovative moves. Now he really simplified what he does, now it mostly kicks to the face and taunts. I was digging him using the bling as a Memphis chain, and the beal off the pod was a nutty bump. It was only about a five minute stretch but he was maybe the best guy in this match.

Not a great match though. I have become tired of the Undertaker v. Batista feud, and this match was based around it. Also Undertakes gogoplata is amazingly shitty looking, and it looked like he had no idea how to apply it on Khali. Still the brothers represented.


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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Black History Month DAY 27

Bill Dundee v. Big Red Reese 1/6/86

This was one of the famous promoting blunders of all time. This is the first Mid-South Coliseum show after Lawler lost the loser leaves town match to Dundee. For some reason on the next Memphis TV show they have Big Red Reese debut and run out in the last minute of the TV show to ruin Dundee's celebration, setting up this epic main event. I read on Wrestling Classics that this match only drew 300 people, which seems crazy low, but you could see rows and rows of empty seats, and it looked like the front row was only half full.

Out of all the morbidly obese black wrestlers of the 1980's Big Red may have been the fattest and most useless. Imagine a redbone Plowboy Frazier without Plowboys mobility, charisma and stiffness. Dundee tries hard, throwing some awesome looking punches, but Big Red can't bump and doesn't really sell. About three minutes in, Red does some of the most listless shucking and jiving in the history of wrestling cooning. Finally about five minutes into this Dutch Mantel runs in to end this mess.


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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Black History Month DAY 26

Segunda Caida Road Report: ROH 2/22/2008

So ROH is a promotion that I'm ostensibly a fan of, despite the fact that they really represent the antithesis of what I think wrestling is all about, and there's a general feeling of malaise hanging over the promotion, and I'm way behind on my ROH watching, and I'm in this odd phase where my wrestling fandom has basically come full circle and I'm back to just watching WWE programming on Saturday mornings (having Tivo'd them the night before, obviously). But I still dig what ROH does for some reason, or at least certain aspects of it, enough that my friends and I go to see them every time they come through Long Island. This was at the Deer Park Community Center, advertised as "the most intimate place to see ROH", like it's the fucking Village Vanguard. It's a tiny school gym (err, community center gym), and for the first time since we started going to the shows, we couldn't buy tickets to the next one, as they haven't secured another venue yet, and they sure ain't coming back here. Still, we got tickets to the Hammerstein Ballroom show, thus assuring I will achieve my lifelong dream of seeing ROH in both it's most intimate and least intimate venues within a four month span.

ERNIE OSIRIS & ALEX PAYNE vs. RHETT TITUS & KYLE DURDEN

Congratulations to Ernie Osiris on parlaying getting an erection while wrestling a woman into some degree of professional success. ROH is kinda screwed right now, because they need to develop credible new main event talent, but that would likely necessitate a stylistic change that would likely alienate the current fanbase and might even speed up their inevitable demise. However, if the new talent is a direct reflection of the fanbase, they might be able to circumvent that problem. If Gabe is secretly building towards Ernie Osiris, Kevin Steen, and Bobby Dempsey as ROH's Three Musketeers, I might have to take back every bad thing I ever said about him. This was fine. Main thing I remember is that Durden was really talkative. Got a lot of laughs, which might not be the best thing for a heel, but then again, it's ROH. I also kinda recall him not being that good once he got in the ring. Two days later, very little of this match stays with me.

Main show starts, and Bobby Cruise announces the guys who couldn't make it. You'd think they'd have known better than to try and run a Long Island show in February again, but Gabe is kinda forgetful apparently. Anyway, I don't mind. The card they came up with at the last minute was more interesting than the advertised one, plus I went with a friend who is a mark for one night tournaments, so he dug that. Plus Necro and Human Tornado made it, as did the previously unbooked Delirious, so it's not like it was that big of a loss.

BRYAN DANIELSON vs. ROCKY ROMERO

This was worked UWF-i style, which was a smart move. Not so much because it was UWF-i style specifically, but because it was any "style" match. Going into the match with a genre in mind means Rocky can't use his "puro tape randomizer" offense, thus negating his worst quality. So if you've ever wanted to see a Rocky Romero match that doesn't make you want to gouge your eyes out with a fork, this is it. Danielson is Danielson. You pretty much know he's going to deliver, and this was a lot of fun. Danielson taps Romero with a wakigatame, sparing us from further Romero bullshit while making his one appearance one of his better.

KEVIN STEEN vs. DELIRIOUS

This was Steen's big night, with his rise to glory illustrated by the crowd's reaction to his theme song. Here, they get on his case for how much it sucks. This was another dialogue heavy match. Delirious has abandoned the random gibberish, taking up a mostly English vocabulary used in the correct context, but phrased oddly (on a clean break: "CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN MISTER!") and really loud, punctuated with the occasional "BAH BAH BAH BAH!". Centerpiece of the match is Delirious's repeated attempts to bodyslam Steen ala Hogan/Andre, which eventually works, but only gets two, and he still falls to the Swanton Bomb.

AUSTIN ARIES vs. EL GENERICO

Not bad, but the least interesting of the first round matches. Eventually, Aries misses a diving headbutt and breaks his nose in the process. Generico ends up botching a backslide, and then grabbing an inside cradle for the win.

THE NECRO BUTCHER vs. GO SHIOSAKI

Kinda came away from this feeling like Go was the least interesting dude in the tournament. That's probably unfair, because Rocky Romero only had one match on the card, and didn't have the opportunities to fail that Go did. Anyway, this was the best of his matches for the night, which shouldn't be a huge surprise, and probably the best match of the night period. Necro was working kinda light by his standards, but he did eat Go's offense like he was the goddamn Necro Butcher. They stood right in front of me and Go just teed off on Necro with chops. Then they brawl over to the other side of the ring, and Necro swipes some dude's shoe, and starts wailing on Go with it, including an apron dive hit-him-on-the-head-with-a-shoe. He bends Go over and hits him in the back with a chair. Wouldn't it be great if the only guy who learned the lessons of Chris Benoit's death was the Necro Butcher? He ends up tossing a bunch of chairs in the ring so as to do something horrible to Go, but Go counters and German suplexes him onto the chairs to get the win. Understand that Go's American debut was going to be a successful one, but really wanted to see more Necro. Oh well.

Larry Sweeney's talk show was up next. This was the thing I was most excited for from the original line-up, so you can imagine my surprise when it ended up being kind of dull. Larry got in a few good shots at the audience at first, some of his banter with Bobby Dempsey was good, but overall fell flat. They tried to spice it up the next night with...interesting results.

BRYAN DANIELSON vs. KEVIN STEEN

I remember this being good, and not much else. Further ragging on Steen for his theme music, but after he wins, some people are actually singing along.

EL GENERICO vs. GO SHIOSAKI

This is also a blank to me, although I also remember this being good, but not as good as the other tournament matches to this point. I think there's a lesson in here somewhere about not going all out in every single match, or else none of them are particularly special. Whatever.

JASON BLADE vs. HUMAN TORNADO vs. PELLE PRIMEAU vs. MITCH FRANKLIN

I'm the only dude in the world who likes Four Corner Survival matches. These usually work for me because of the compelling characters or feuds involved, though, so the presence of Blade and Franklin kinda hindered this to some degree. Still, HUMAN TORNADO, BABY! Really psyched up to see him, and he delivered. With Segunda Caida deep into it's Black History Month project, watching Human Tornado live makes me kinda glad to see the proud (?) tradition of jivey black workers continues in the 21st century. What this says about me, a white suburbanite, may or may not be good. But them's the breaks. The two-step kicks in the corner into the split low blow was particularly delightful.

He doesn't win, but he takes the mic post match and explains his main goal in ROH is to bring in more women. Like an idiot, I first assume he means drawing more female fans, before it becomes rapidly apparent that he's being booked as a face, and drawing female fans is a strictly heel move in ROH. No, he's actually talking about pimpin', which is far more sensible. He says
he's particularly interested in bringing in Lacey, which naturally draws her out from the back so that the fans can heap their misogyny on her. Tornado ducks a couple of slaps while casually continuing his interview before Jimmy Jacobs rushes out from the back and produces a shiv from his cane that convinces Tornado to bail. Jacobs then brings out Zach Gowen, much to the consternation of an audience that was advertised Joey Matthews, who was not listed amongst those unable to attend, but also ended up not showing anyway. No matter. Gowen fits in rather nicely with the AOTF concept, and is good enough that I can't really complain.

JIGSAW & RUCKUS vs. JIMMY JACOBS & ZACH GOWEN

Damn, it's good to see Julius Smokes again. This is a match that will likely come out worse on tape than it was live. A lot of it was missable, and Ruckus really stinks, but Smokes's ringside antics kept me entertained during the slow points while effectively drawing the crowd into the match as necessary. Also, Mercedes Martinez's ass is always a good distraction from things. Heels held up their end of the bargain. Gowen's one-legged springboard somersault plancha was boss. Jimmy draws some of the better crowd chants ("CRY!", "Your Dad hates you!"). Jigsaw gets the win for the Vulture Squad to set up the next night's title shot. Jimmy gets into it with a fan on the way out, hurling a chair at the guardrail in the process.

KEVIN STEEN vs. GO SHIOSAKI

The crowd's acceptance of Steen is complete, as everyone sings along to his theme music while he plays air guitar on the top turnbuckle. You know how anti-ROH dudes always bitch about them doing a bunch of faux 90's All Japan bullshit with a lot of big match spots and stiff strikes and head drops and finisher kickouts, none of which mean anything in absence of a really good story and an entire card of people wrestling "big matches" night after night? Well, this was that. Highlight of the match was the alarming racism of the crowd. Not alarming because it was racist, just alarming because ROH crowds typically go out of their way to be deferential to their Japanese idols, whereas here, they were mostly cracking wise about Hiroshima and how anime sucks. I'm not sure what this tells us, I just thought it was striking. Anyway, this was the one actively lousy match of the night, for all the reasons you might guess. No, the significance of this match does not merit Go kicking out of the Package Piledriver. You were dropped straight on your head with zero protection. Eat the pin. I know it's ROH. I know that's what I should expect. Doesn't make it any less pointless.


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Black History Month DAY 25

Rocky King v. Barbarian (WCW 1985?)
by Lee Benaka



The Barbarian is accompanied in the ring by a poor man's Village People including Paul Jones sporting his fascist-lite tan jumpsuit and riding crop, and Shaska Whatley with a top hat and tuxedo jacket smartly complimenting his trunks. Rocky King nods his disapproval as Whatley struts while holding up some locks of Jimmy Valiant's hair. I don't know a whole lot about Rocky King, but according to youtube comments on this match, he was hired off the street by Jim Crockett and was honored to be able to get beat up by so many wrestling stars. In addition, Rocky King apparently still books shows in the Atlanta area and has great abs. According to Tony Schiavone on commentary, Rocky was also Pistol Pez Whatley's friend and protege, until Pez fell under the spell of Paul Jones and betrayed Jimmy Valiant.

As one might expect, Rocky gets in little offense, eating a kneelift, press slam, and two shoulderblocks before trying unsuccessfully to knock the big man down with two drop kicks that don't seem to quite connect. Rocky then goes for something in the corner but ends up with a reverse atomic drop for his troubles. Poor Rocky then gets dropped across the top rope and is the recipient of an elbow drop and a leg drop. Rocky's inherently hard head is no match for a Barbarian headbutt off the second rope. After standing on King briefly, the Barbarian tosses him out of the ring, where Shaska hits King across the back while Jones distracts the ref. The Barbarian heads out for a kick to the prone King and then drops Rocky across the railing near the audience, following up with a nice little headbutt to the floor. Jones then kicks King as well.

King makes it back to the ring to receive an elbow off the ropes, a big boot, a powerslam, and finally a headbutt off the top rope across the ring for the pin. During this final sequence, Whatley and Jones call for the Boogie Woogie Man, but he does not take the bait, apparently. Whatley and the Barbarian stomp King quite a bit after the match while Jones distracts the referee. Jones gets a kick in as well.

That was a lot of abuse to Rocky King in approximately three minutes. So let us not forget, as we dwell on the sacrifices that have led us to commemorate Black History Month, the sacrifices of Rocky King, who gamely sacrificed his body so that the Barbarian could look monstrous and so that Pez Whatley and Paul Jones could get some cheap heat.


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Monday, February 25, 2008

Black History Month DAY 24

Orlando Jordan v Tony Jones UWA 2000

And it’s another black wrestler v. black wrestler match in another promotion with (at least a worked) black owner in front of a majority black audience. The UWA was the Urban Wrestling Alliance; a “Hollywood” wrestling fed that recorded about eight episodes for syndication in 2000. It had many of the problems that one would associate with a “Hollywood” run promotion.

The matches were short and it was way overwritten. There were way too many valets. There was obviously canned crowd noise. This was being filmed in LA (at the Olympic—or more like a room in the Olympic) and not in Memphis. So no history of large black audiences attending wrestling shows. It was pretty clear that lots of the audience was plants. It’s possible that they comped Oaktown 357s families to get more black faces in the audience. It’s also possible that they paid out of work actors ( probably the kid who played Stephanie Tanner’s docile black schoolmate for the two seasons that it was cute for her to have a pet black friend before it became threatening to have her around a black male).… Both Raven Symone and Monique can be seen cheering in audience. Nobody on commentary mentions “celebrities in attendance”.

The commentary was done by the team of ex Rough Ryder Cross (http://www.maverickentertainment.cc/images/products/underground_ss.jpg) and John Watanabe who went on to do commentary for those English language FMW DVDS. It was a bad commentary team. Both guys were more concerned with getting their own gimmicks over than getting over the action. Cross’ tough guy rapper swagger kind of buried the talent. He did lots of threatening the wrestlers to step up to him and lots of “see I wouldn’t have let that happen to me, cause that’s not how you do it in the streets.” type comments. And John Watanabe was working hard at getting over his “wrestling expert guy who ha watched wrestling since the seventies” gimmick at the expense of getting over the stuff in front of him. He did lots of saying that what a wrestler was doing was “shades of” someone else without explaining what the actual wrestler was doing. My favorite John Watanabe getting over gimmick of “wrestling expert” name dropping is when he called a wrestlers divorce court variation as “shades of Japan’s Fujiwara armbar breaking his arm shades of Ole Anderson”.

There were guys in it with clearly little wrestling background chosen for their look (www.aaronbaker.net/ ) combined with some really green wrestlers. Your two highest pushed singles wrestlers were Sonny Siaki as cocky face Money (Cross: “cause we all about the money” baby) and Deuce/Solo Snuka as Solo the rogue maverick cop who was known for both excessive force and ratting other cops to internal affairs( “ no one can trust” him).

Lots of time was spent on self mythologizing of commissioner/owner. Its commissioner was Alonzo Brown, formerly one half of rap group Dr Jeckyl And Mr Hyde (http://www.cocaineblunts.com/blunts/?p=679 ). Jeckyl was Uptown records kingpin Andre Harrell and went on to become the CEO at Motown. Hyde was Alonzo Brown who was involved with this show and went onto write the movie “Honey”.

But the shows had a lot of charm and character. The matches were pretty straight forward with pretty clear face/heel structure. And you get the sense that being the writer for Honey makes you a better writer than being an ex writer for Friends, or a writer for the WWF magazine. As the writing and character development pretty much made sense. The basic opening premise for the shows was that Alonzo Brown was the son of tag wrestling legend the Brown Horne and he has ambivalent feelings about pushing tag team wrestling due to that relationship, he is also coming to grips with finding a new champion since longtime champ Mustafa (not the Mustapha from ECw but an actor) had just stepped down. The whole starting a show in medias res, is on the one hand a sign of overwriting and on the other hand awesome throwback to kayfabed Rio De Janero tournaments and belt histories.

Orlando Jordan at the time wasn’t working a boxing gimmick (his punches weren’t very good) he was working as one half of the Black Legion. His “brother” was the highflyer while he was the technical half(doing lots of throws, toe holds into majistrals etc). Tony Jones is wrestling as HTK (Hard to Kill) and brings rottweilers with him to the ring. Match is real simple. OJ as face attacks HTK quickly at start bulls HTK into the corner, ref separates, and then HTK takes advantage and just starts tossing OJ around with lots of big throws... OJ gets a couple hope spots in the form of suplex reversals and eventually is able to catch HTK off a missed charge with a German and a death valley driver. Nothing exceptional, but the match is made by the angle. Tony Jones comes to ring with a hardback copy of the Oxford anthology of (I think British) literature and announces: “you people need to get off of welfare… you people need to stop whining and complaining…you people need to stop making excuses…you [OJ] and your people need to open up a book and learn to read”. Dana White isn’t in the audience, or if he was you couldn’t hear him cheer. And this is met with real boos from the audience, and it sounds weird as actual heel heat mixes with the canned one. Orlando Jordan takes the mic. And says “You know something [about that reading] can you hook me up.
HTK: “Here’s a book of literature, you should try to read it from cover to…”BAM!!! And OJ hits him with the literature anthology. The crowd cheers and the bell rings as OJ swings the book at HTK. If you ever had to read a literature anthology you know that those are some onion sheet pages and so unfortunately no garbage paper cut spots. A really fun perfectly executed angle that keeps the audience involved for match. John Wattanabe tries to do cliché wrestling commentary spots” HTK is showing really good Greco and freestyle wrestling skills, whatever you think of HTK’s personality, you have to respect his skills”. But Cross will have none of that”I don’t need to respect nothing, he’s a degenerate, and if you’re down with him you’re a degenerate too.”.


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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Black History Month DAY 23

Big Daddy V v. Boogeyman v. Miz v. C.M. Punk




Big Daddy V is a guy who is really in the wrong era. He would have made an amazing monster heel in any regional promotion. V challenging Inoki, Colon, Lawler, Hogan, Jimmy Valient. He is both bigger and more agile then guys like Kamala or Kareem Muhammed. He looks great here, press slamming Punk to the floor, pounding on Boogeyman, taking a giant ring barrier bump. Boogeyman can't really wrestle, but has a ton of charisma. I could easily see Lawler bringing in Boogeyman as a special tag partner to face Big Daddy V and Robert Fuller. The sections of this match where Miz and C.M. Punk work IWA-MS TPI style aren't nearly as good as the parts of Big Daddy V wrecking fools. Miz has gotten pretty good at working that style though, he would make a fine Lance Von Thomaselli. I wonder if V's tits gave him Coral flashbacks? I hadn't been watching ECW, but this match kind of makes me want to Youtube more V.


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Friday, February 22, 2008

Black History Month DAY 22

Bill Dundee + Dustin Rhodes v. Rough and Ready 8/13/89

Dundee and Dustin are pretty much a SC dream team, and they are fun in this sqaush. Rough and Ready are strange. They are a pair of black masked jobbers who were in Memphis for years, one named Rough and the other named Ready (so you might one week get a Dutch Mantel v. Ready singles match), and they have a manager, Boss Winters. Winters only manages heel jobbers, and never does any mike work. My guess is that he is a local car dealer, and he cuts Jerry Jarrett a deal on his Cadilacs and Jarrett lets him be on TV. He gets chased and popped by Dundee here, which seems kind of unnecessary. I get why you would want to nail Jimmy Hart, or Downtown Bruno or Tux Newman or Ronnie P. Gossett or Tojo Yammamoto or Brother Ernest Angel or even Nate the Rat, but Boss Winters never actually does anything.


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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Black History Month DAY 21

Rey Mysterio vs. King Booker
WWE - 7/23/2006
World Heavyweight Title Match

This was the peak of a roughly two-month period where everything on Smackdown was really just coming together perfectly. Preceded by Rey delivering awesome stuff in the ring while being booked as a World Champion jobber, and followed by Rey/Chavo Eddiesploitation-fest, here we see everyone firing on all cylinders. Rey's not doing meaningless jobs, and is still the best worker in the world. Booker - as Phil mentioned, the best black wrestler of the last decade - is as good as he's ever been, probably better due to the strength of his new gimmick. He mastered this one facial expression that I can only describe as "every picture I've ever seen of Jesus Christ where he wasn't being/about to be crucified", and he can just look right into the camera and whip it on you, and you want to see him get his teeth kicked in. His wife - also black, appropriately enough - is one of the better wrestling managers in recent years, mixing beauty queen theatrics with "Oh no you di'int" stereotypical sassiness and a sense of genuine concern for her man for maximum entertainment.

And then there's the announcing. JBL was such a breath of fresh air on commentary, and it really illustrates how good the guys in the ring were. Before coming out of retirement, I felt that he was starting to slip on commentary, and rewatching this match, it becomes apparent that the quality of his announcing is tied to the quality of what he's calling. Not that that's particularly unusual, but it's pretty striking to see that when Rey is the top face and Booker is the top heel, he's on fire, whereas Batista as top face and Edge as top heel doesn't seem to draw the same kind of reaction. Also worth noting that Bradshaw is at his best on commentary when he's outraged over something, which seemed to happen less over time. Angry JBL made Vito matches must-watch TV, for chrissakes. Angry JBL/quality JBL also seemed to make Michael Cole a better announcer. Cole says Mysterio represents America, which angers JBL, and they get into an argument over whether the big businessmen who made decisions or the laborers who carried out those decisions were more responsible for the greatness of America. Michael Cole, for all his flaws, was probably better than most WWF/E announcers ever at explaining/justifying morality as it was presented on the show, and JBL was masterful at providing the counterpoint.

So the stars were all aligned just right for this match to be awesome, and what do ya know, it was. This was a great showcase for Rey's surface-to-air offense, finding all kinds of ways to evade Booker's offense and turn it into offense of his own. Booker ducking the 619, and Rey hitting the mat, taking another spin, and nailing a roundhouse kick as Booker was reaching his feet was particularly impressive. But this is black history, and really, I should be talking more about how awesome Booker is. And he is. He attempts the Axe Kick at one point. It's a move that frequently (and rightly) gets criticized for how long it takes to set up. Here, he boots Rey in the gut, and just whips off the ropes lightning fast to hit it, although Rey still ducks out of the way in time. He also does a lot of nice throws when countering moves that Rey caught him with before. Rey goes for his flying bodyscissors into a bulldog thingy, and when he goes up for the bulldog part, Booker just falls back and drops him with a mean-looking back suplex.

The finish was what it was. I don't like the angle it led to, be the actual finish was executed pretty well. Both men were down, it was entirely conceivable that Chavo was trying to help Rey, and when he turns on him instead, he really blasts him with that chairshot. Post-match, with Booker in tears, Sharmell and JBL ecstatic, and Michael Cole in complete shock, is fantastic. A home run all around.


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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Black History Month DAY 20

Derrick King v. Tatt2 (10/14/06)




This would be your all black match. Black heel vs. black face with black promoter announcing in front of mostly black studio audience on a TV program that airs in a majority black town.

This is the first time I’ve ever seen Tatt2. I don’t get much of a sense of him outside of him having pretty huge ups on all of his highflying offense. He gets a ton of elevation on his leapfrogs, drop kicks, and on the jump into broncobuster.

Derrick King is a Don Bass trained worker who has been around for about 15 years. For good portion of that time he’s worked in WWE developmental territories. He worked both under Randy Hales and Jim Cornette in role of local guy who lays out the match and eats stuff from WWE developmental trainees. And here he’s working a pretty old school TV studio formula: arrogant heel champ complains about lack of challengers, confronted with young challenger—arrogant heel champ claims challenger is below him and can be beaten in five minutes—is challenged to follow through on claim and fails. The match is pretty much made by King’s mastery of the TV formula as he does a great job at facially selling the whole angle in ring. His facial selling of the arrogant attempt to win by countout, his goofy sell of the 619, facial sell of fear of fighting out of the sunset flip, facial sell of relief at being able to hit the desperation super kick etc; just makes the whole thing work. He throws some questionable missed clotheslines, but facially he is so committed to this story that you buy everything he does and the crowd eats the formula up.


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Black History Month DAY 19

Floyd Mayweather wrestling angle night 2



This was a basically unsatisfying follow up to Sunday's great angle. The WWE is so over produced, that they can rarely keep anything looking out of control and spontaneous very long. Floyd coming down to ringside to "Get Money" with the $500 hoodie and large entourage was really great. Then when he opens his mouth, it is clear that he is reciting some promo scripted by what ever ex-According to Jim hack they have writing RAW promos now. This ended up coming off exactly like ever mike segment they ever use to set up any match.

There is a reason that Floyd drew two such huge PPV numbers this year, and they have to let Floyd be Floyd. Brag about the diamonds in your watch, pull 75 grand from you pocket, don't talk about what a fan you are of the WWE, he didn't talk about what a fan he was of Oscar DeLa Hoya, he called him overrated and washed up.

Also while Floyd may get over as a face in a Las Vegas arena probably full of waiters and busboys he has given extravagant tips to. He doesn't work as a face anywhere else, listen to the boos. This interview was pretty ambiguous, but they need to go whole hog with heel Floyd. Dump the Rey aspect of it, and just have it be cocky ass Floyd talking shit. One hit and one strike so far, we will see how it plays out.


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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Black History Month DAY 18

Bad Leroy Brown v. Ricky Steamboat 12/82





This is a chance to see one of the unsung Black wrestlers of the 1980's, Bad Leroy Brown. Brown is best known for being the slimmer of the two Zambuie Express, and a Bill Irwin tag partner in UWF. Brown here is representing the House of Humperdink and holds the Mid-Atlantic TV title. This is a fine little match, with a fair amount of stalling and bullshit by Brown. I am not a big nerve pinch fan, but if you are going to put anyone in a nerve hold, it should be Ricky Steamboat. Steamboat can give you a crink in your neck just watching him. Brown has the second best morbidly obsese black guy elbow drop of all the 1980's, and we see it a bunch.


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Monday, February 18, 2008

Black History Month DAY 17

Floyd Mayweather pops the Big Show



I don't know why a legitimate star like Floyd Mayweather is bothering working undercard angles on minor show PPV's. I assume this is leading to a Big Show v. Floyd match at Wrestlemania, which seems like a crazy risk for a guy looking at a 25 million dollar plus payday for the Oscar rematch. I guess you can blow your knee out doing the tango too. Still this was a fucking awesome angle. Floyd rushing the ring surrounded by his hangers on, the shit talking, the lightning quick four punch combo which broke the Big Show's nose and split his lip, and the near riot post match. I thought this was better set up then either the L.T. or Tyson initial confrontations. Floyd isn't Tyson by any means, and I have no idea why they set up a natrually hateble guy like him as a face, but initially I thought this was fucking great. Fuck it, give me Floyd v. Cena as your Wrestlemania main event


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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Black History Month DAY 16

Kimbo Slice v. Tank Abbot



In a world where Heavyweight boxing is a contest of supremacy mainly between batting Soviet satellites, Kimbo Slice is quickly taking the role of scariest black man around. Go back to Jack Johnsons gold teeth, Whites like having a dark monster to be scared of. There hasn't been one in a while, Evander loved god too much, Lennox was too British, Sam Peter too African. We have been waiting for a guy with a shiny Rick Ross beard and gold teeth to knock people out. I watched this fight with a room of non-MMA fans and they were convinced that Kimbo could kill anyone. I don't know how many has beens and never was's they can line up for Kimbo to kill, but if they can keep doing it, he is money. UFC would be stone fools not to steal him.


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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Black History Month DAY 15

Aja Kong v. Chaparrita Asari



Aja Kong is pretty much inarguably the best black wrestler in history. Born half black in a country as racist as Japan, she was able to make a pretty nice life for herself. Of course she had to pretend to be a gorilla, but it is Japan.

This match is from Aja's short run in the WWF. I was at the Survivor Series the night before this ( This was a dead time for the WWF, I was able to scam 8 free tickets just for interviewing Savio Vega for my school newspaper) and enjoyed Aja fucking people up live, but here she lays the most ungodly beating scene in the WWF in years on Asari. Kicking her brutally in the back, shoot headbutting her, and backfisting her so hard that she broke her nose. I remember watching this on TV and thinking FUCK this is something entirely different from the rest of the show.


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Friday, February 15, 2008

Black History Month DAY 14 Supplemental




My computer's been acting up, so my review of King Booker taking the World Title from Rey Mysterio is a little slow going. But as long as I'm here, I'd be remiss if I didn't give you this clip from "Roaring Fire" featuring Abdullah the Butcher as "The Black Retainer". Enjoy!


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Black History Month DAY 14

Eddie Gilbert & The Nightmare vs. The Bruise Brothers (12/31/85)

Porkchops Cash maybe my favorite of the 80's black minstrel wrestlers. He is named after a black food sterotype, has lots of different great looking jiving spots, and a really cool beard. Mad Dog Boyd is normally terrible, but actually kind of fine in this match. Super Memphis match for Mid-South. Beginning of the match has Nightmare and Gilbert befuddled by Porkchops dancing ( to be fair to Porkchops, the dancing wasn't just a black thing, he was a 70's babyface, all 70's babyfaces got down and boogied). Lots of comic befuddlement. Then they are able to take over on Mad Dog, which is a fine heel beatdown, with Nightmare throwing some nasty punches. Then you get the hot tag with Porkchops going crazy like he saw a ghost. Really awesome finish, with Eddie shoving a KO'ed Nightmare on top of Porkchops, but Porkchops, almost hits a rana from his back for the pin. Seriously awesome tag match which puts a smile on the face of any true wrestling fan.


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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Black History Month DAY 13

Abdullah The Butcher v. Necro Butcher



Unsurprisingly we have already reviewed a fair amount of Abdullah during this Black History Month special. Canadian black dude who pretends to be Sudaneese and becomes successful enough to open a BBQ joint in Atlanta. That is much an example of promise of the 21'st century as anything in the Audacity of Hope. This is young face painted Necro. He doesn't really show me anything here to distinguish him from any other random face painted dude at this point in his career. This is your basic Abby v. Lowlife Louie Ramos match, as Abby carves him up and hits him with a glass bottle. Abby still got great height on his Sudanese meat cleaver. Their IWA-EC match was better, as Necro was more Necroish then. Still well worth a click.


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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Black History Month DAY 12

Hacksaw Jim Duggan v. Craig "Pitbull" Pittman
by Tomk



Craig Pittbull Pittman was a product of the WCW Powerplant. An ex-Marine with legit amateur background who threw lots of nasty suplexes and had really aggressive looking take downs (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtfQhaB1WoQ ). He also did a bunch of “Black guy with a hard head” spots, and depending on who was announcing they would explain these as Marine “Jarhead” spots. But call it what you will, we know what’s really going on. Pittman also would take some really big bumps.

Great American Bash 95 and he has his PPV debut opposite Hacksaw Duggan. Hacksaw Duggan hasn’t had a match of note for almost a decade. He’s not Barry Houston and can’t really be thrown around that way. He’s old, washed up but over brawler. Still match is really smartly put together and Hacksaw has a pretty nice performance built around selling and his veteran brawler character. Hacksaw really puts Pittman over strong. Pittman just destroys Hacksaw’s leg and looses by DQ when he refuses to let go of arm submission. For guy with amateur credentials v washed up brawler, I wouldn’t want to say that this compares favorably to HBK v Angle or HBK v Benjamin…largely because Pittman is way greener than either Benjamin or Angle were at the time. But this is surprisingly better than one would expect.

By the end of the nineties Pittman was able to put all the elements (bumping, suplexes, amteur rides, battering ram spots, etc) together into a nice little package. But this is 1995. Pittman is just out of wrestling school and pretty green. He has the kind of sloppy stiffness at this point that we’d associate with a shooter working a New Japan match. He also does really WWF style “wrestler controls his own bumps” type bumping. And there is a real disconnect between his offense (strong hard non-cooperative looking take downs and suplexes where he’s controlling opponents bumps) and his own bumping (self propelled).

That’s the matches real big flaw. As both Hacksaw’s offense and Pittman’s offense makes sense and looks nice but the bumps Pittman takes never look like they are results of Hacksaw’s offense. Well that and your 1995 WCW audience wasn’t really ready for submission move as instant death. Wasn’t really ready for match where wrestler takes out opponent’s leg (works the leg) in order to sink in arm submission. Its 2008 and the crowd is indifferent to Viscera bleeding out of his mouth when Undertaker put him in a oomaplata . If it doesn’t work in 2008 with a blood capsule and an American audience that has seen some MMA, it’s not getting over in 95.

I should also point out that this match was set up by Pittman “breaking” Scott D’amore’s arm in the undercard and then demanding better competition. This is the best match I’ve ever seen that D’amore was involved in setting up.


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Monday, February 11, 2008

Black History Month DAY 11





Billy Robinson vs. Abdullah the Butcher
AJPW - 10/18/1978
PWF Heavyweight Title Match

An unruly wildman from a 3rd-world African nation working plucky underdog babyface against subtle heel champion from a wealthy European ex-colonial power seems like a pretty obvious match to look at for a black history month project. What isn't obvious is that I'd ever use the term "plucky underdog babyface" to describe Abdullah the Butcher, or for that matter, that a nearly 20-minute long, best 2/3 falls Abby match where he's working against type could be as good as this is. It helps that he's in there with Billy Robinson, who probably could have had a great match with my grandmother at this point. But this didn't strike me as an out-and-out carryjob. Abby just didn't do anything he couldn't do well.

First fall is built around Robinson exposing Abby's weaknesses - namely, his lack of speed and lack of technical expertise - and exploiting them thusly, dodging and blocking his slow-as-molasses throat thrusts and schooling him with Britastic chain wrestling. Then, when Abby makes his comeback and starts trying to twist his head off, he out-brawls him (!) and takes the first fall with a backbreaker from a backdrop position. Second fall, Robinson keeps going to town on Abby, keeping him down or in the corner for the most part, where Abby gets to sell without having to exert himself too much physically. Naturally, he blades, and eventually finds himself outside the ring, where Bill can slam his head into a table. But Robinson is a little too slow getting back in the ring, and Abby takes his advantage, throat-thrusting him and making him topple over backwards with his ankle caught in the ropes. Hanging upside down outside the ring, Robinson gets attacked by a resurgent Abby, who forearms, headbutts, and even bites his knee. He's let loose, but he can't make it into the ring on time, and Abby takes the second fall by count-out. Abby keeps going after the knee in the third fall, and Robinson frantically tries to stay in the match. He scores some errant shots, but can't maintain any kind of advantage as his knee keeps buckling, ultimately forcing the ref to stop the match and award the deciding fall to Abby. Fun post-match, too, as the pissed-off Robinson keeps trying to charge Abdullah, only for his knee to give out whenever he tries to put weight on it, and Abdullah egging him on by dragging his new title along the mat in front of him like bait.


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Black History Month DAY 10

Rick Martel v. Booker T 1/28/98





Nothing is more WCW then some guy showing out of nowhere and having a fun little run. Mike Enos, Len Denton, Kendall Windham all guys who emerged from a distant past to have nifty little matches on Thunder. Rick Martel was the Model in the early nineties, MIA for five years and then had four really good months in early 1998. This match is another in the awesome Booker T TV title run.

Match was basic and solid, most of the early part has Booker working an armbar, in Martel and Booker working a lot of the fast counter wrestling that Booker did the Regal match. Martel takes over when he place possum after a fake foul. Martel works the back setting up the Quebec Crab for a near fall, and they have a hot finish section.

This match really reminded me a lot of the Butch Reed v. Dick Murdoch series in Mid-South, the same early slow work, leading to subtle heel work by the face, and a hot finish. Booker reminds me a lot of Reed (which is an appropriately racially tinged comparison for this month), same sort of solidly applied basics, match with crazy athletic moves, plus their both black guys.


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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Black History Month DAY 9

Steve Regal v. Booker T 2/28/98



Booker T is the best Black wrestler of the last 10 years. Great midcard run in WCW, plus one of the better WWE title runs of the last couple of years. This is a fun Nitro match during Booker's awesome TV title reign. Lots of super fast counter wrestling for such big dudes, and both guys are laying it in something terrible. This TV title period was when Booker really started working stiff, he was wrestling guys like Finlay and Regal and the other dude, and week after week you could see his stuff get tighter. This is WCW at its WCWist. Give a couple of great guys a couple of minutes, talk about the NWO for the first half of the match, and you would get something fun.


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Friday, February 08, 2008

Black History Month DAY 8



Abdullah the Butcher vs. The Sheik
AJPW - 1980

One of my favorite sub-five minute matches ever. Well, the match itself is pretty inconsequential. You just want to see the madness that always surrounded these guys, especially when they were in the ring together. It was that sense of constant danger that really made these guys. Like Mick Foley in later years, these were two great brawlers who didn't really have a whole lot going for them in terms of actual brawling offense. Their strikes were good enough for pro wrestling, but Abdullah the Butcher isn't The Necro Butcher. He's not a guy who was going to impress on offense alone. Mick made up for that deficiency with foreign object shots, charisma, psychotic bumping, and impeccable timing. These two made up for it with foreign object shots, charisma, and the ability to convey the feeling that they would tear the arena to the ground trying to kill each other. They brawl around ringside as a herd of ring crew boys try to separate them. They're not doing anything more devastating than choking each other, but the illusion of violence is surprisingly potent. Fuck, at one point, they just happen to take the brawl to a side of the ring where a bunch of photographers can take snapshots of them choking each other while surrounded by the ring crew, who's trying to separate them just enough that they don't actually ruin the picture. Now that's professionalism. This won't make you forget Onita/Funk or Honma/Yamakawa or Necro/Joe, but it's a ton of fun, and a great illustration of how a little can go a long way in wrestling.


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Black History Month DAY 7

Kareem Muhammed + Kamala v. Dick Murdoch + Hacksaw Jim Duggan 7/14/85

This match is interesting from a sociological standpoint. You get to see your two real archetypes of fat black dudes in wrestling. In some ways they don't make much sense as a tag team. Kamala is working a minstrel African Savage gimmick, you expect him to try to boil Bugs Bunny in a pot. Meanwhile Kareem Muhammed is an American black man who has embraced Black Militancy. The Zambuie Express were formed when Ray Candy and Leroy Brown abandoned their slave names and joined to fight for justice against a society based on White Supremacy. You would think a forward thinking positive brother like Kareem Muhammed wouldn't have anything to do with Kamala.

This match has your pair of black wrestlers getting their ass kicked by a pair of white rednecks while the crowd goes nuts. Man do those guys take an asskicking though, and no one dishes it out like Duggan and Murdoch. This was Mid-South wrestling and its Mid-Southiest, crazy brawling, nutty crowd heat, great punches, big bumps, just go-go wrestling. Kamala is pretty damn underrated, flies around great and his top rope splash is about as great looking a move as you will see in the 80's. Muhammed is pretty fun at flying off of Duggan and Murdochs fists, although his offense wasn't as good.


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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Black History Month DAY 6

Black Machismo v. Christopher Daniels v. Puma v. Homicide v. Kaz v. Shark Boy v. Sonjay Dutt v. Senshi v. Petey Williams v. Elix Skipper






I actually saw Jay Lethals first match ever, he wrestled Rain at a JAPW card, so it is kind of cool to see him on PPV, even if it is in a stupid Russo gimmick in a D-Leauge clusterfuck. Man this match was so TNA it was a gauntlet leading into a ultimate X match using the Elevation X structure. So three dumb gimmicks in one, all this needed was something on a pole. The match itself was much like most of these TNA matches, lots of good ideas only about a third of them executed well. The battle royal portion was amusing just for the 45 seconds Petey Williams was in the match. This was a match full of not very good wrestlers, and Petey is so clearly worse then all of them, I mean when you are yelling at the screen "GET THE CAMERA BACK ON GURU SONJAY DUTT" you know someone stinks. I also loved the section where everyone hit their finishers in a row, just to hear Mike Tenay yell out the stupid ass indy wrestling names everyone had for their moves "It's the THE LETHAL COMBINATION...THE SUDDEN DEATH... WAVE OF THE FUTURE...THE FLUX CAPACITOR." Seriously TNA needs to hire a naming firm.

Jay Lethal did take a couple of really nice high backdrops, although he didn't eat a clothesline though which is the other thing he does really well. He also had a couple of big bumps, which were smaller then other bumps, thus completely forgotten. Really a waste of career shortening bumps, if it is the 8th biggest bump of the match. Still it was nice to remember how much I used to like Lethal. Elix Skipper is also black and also in this match.


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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Black History Month Day 5



Butch Reed vs. Kamala
Mid-South probably - 1985 probably

Hey! Two black guys for the price of one! Boss! I don't know what it says about me as an upper middle class suburban white guy that my first instinct when Phil told me we were doing a Black History Month special was "search for Kamala on YouTube". I mean, when you become a wrestling fan, you kind of have to accept the overwhelming racism inherent in it, and that a guy like Kamala can be considered awesome, instead of terribly offensive. But it's Black History Month, so I feel obliged to contemplate the societal ramifications of racebaiting in wrestling. Having done that, let's talk about this match.

Reed is pretty great here. He's all over Kamala whenever he's on offense, forcing him into the ropes with his punches and then staying right on top of him, refusing to give him an inch, even as the ref is trying to separate them. For a guy traditionally booked as a scary monster heel, Kamala did a lot of of cautious, backpedaling heel stuff. Rolling out of the ring to catch his breath, keeping his distance from Reed back in the ring. Kind of imagine a hypothetical wrestling promotion based out of a stereotypical African village, where Kamala is working as stereotypical African Tully Blanchard, who lives in the nice part of the village next to the lake, and holds it over everyone else. Gets all of the food without doing any of the hunting or gathering, that sort of thing. This is a ten-minute long match, with the middle five being built around a Kamala heart claw, which I could imagine would bug some people. Not me, though. It was very much worked 70's style, with Reed constantly trying to escape, and Kamala constantly foiling his attempts, so it stays active throughout. Except Kamala is an African savage, so it's a bit rougher than, say, Giant Baba trying to keep a headscissors on The Destroyer. Reed almost passes out at one point. His arm drops twice, but he keeps it up the third time, so Kamala grabs it with his free hand and starts biting his fingers, which is really a great spot for a cannibal. Not that I minded, but it is kind of odd to work a five-minute heart claw in a ten-minute match, and after building up to Reed's escape, Kamala just releases it of his own volition to throw him into the ropes and shoulderblock him down to set up the big splash. Reed makes his comeback, and once again, he's all over him. Really got the sense at one point that he was gonna get DQ'd for not backing off when Kamala was in the ropes. Dude was intense, and his punches were great. Skandor Akbar and Kim Chee run interference. Reed knocks them out, but the ref gets caught with a stray flying shoulderblock, allowing someone who I can't positively ID to run in and attack Reed, setting Kamala up for another big splash and the win. Good stuff. Reed was so good at this point. Really wanted to see the rematch.


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Black History Month DAY 4

Damien Wayne v. Pharaoh



Pharaoh is a guy I have seen live a handful of times before, and is really great at firing up a crowd of little kids and rednecks and beating on people. This is a long main event title match, and I was really shocked at how good it was. They stuck him with a fake Arab manager, which kind of kills his great afro centric gimmick. Saying "I am Allah" isn't as aggravating to a crowd as saying "I am God." Match itself was pretty damn great, they start off with some simple solid mat wrestling, and then Pharaoh is able to take over with some nasty looking uppercuts and backbreakers. You had a couple of big spots, but this was mostly solid basic wrestling, with everything both guys doing looking great. Wayne might have the best punches in wrestling, and isn't afraid to take some unnecessary bumps. Didn't care for the ending, but it fit the match fine. I really need to see some more main event Pharoah as he might be the best black wrestler on the indies right now.


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Monday, February 04, 2008

Black History Month DAY 3

Rock and Roll Express v. Doom 7/7/90

At this point in WCW the Rock and Roll Express were kind of an anachronism. Your tag division was built much more around spot teams like the Steiners and SST. Your old school teams like the R+R's and MX were on there way out. Still this was a heck of a swan song for that era. Doom were a pair of big motherfuckers who hit hard. Ron Simmons was still green, and Butch Reed was past his prime, but damn were these guys a force. Powerslams, fist drops, elbows, everything Doom did looked like it hurt bad. Still this match was really made by their bumping and selling. Both guys did a great job of making you buy that a pair of tiny, flabby guys with mullets could hurt a pair of yoked athletic black dudes. I really don't remember Ron Simmons being this good at selling. Of course Ricky Morton takes a beating, and he is the master of that, and Robert Gibson takes a hot tag and no one did that as well. Just an excellent tag wrestling match, and example of what WCW would just randomly throw out there, there is so much awesome stuff from this period which is totally forgotten.


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Saturday, February 02, 2008

Black History Month DAY 2

Johnny Valentine v. Bearcat Wright



Merciful crap was this awesome. Just pure angry violence. The first part of this match has the single greatest front face lock I have ever seen. It legitimately looks like Wright is going to rip Valentines head off. He leans all the way back and then slams Valentines back into the turnbuckle. In a world where every indy schmuck does a 630 splash or a burning hammer on a chair, it takes a lot for a move to make you mark out, but Bearcat Wrights front face lock does it. When Valentine final gets out they just start pounding the piss out of each other. Nasty forearms, punches, elbows to the back of the head, I love 70's stiff wrestling like this. It isn't flashy kicks to the head, it is a forearm across the chest which looks like it collapses lungs.

Wright was one of the early black stars who would wrestle white wrestlers. Along with Bobo Brazil he refused to only wrestle other blacks. Even ballsier though, he was the first black wrestlers to work heel in the South. Watch the cops come to ringside as Wright is headbutting refs and choking Valentine with a rope and you can imagine there might have been a close call or two leaving an arena.


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Black History Month DAY 1

Virgil v. Diamond Timothy Flowers- Pro Wrestling Fury (date?)

I have always had a soft spot for Mike Jones. I was a guy who watched a lot of late 90's WCW, for a long time I reviewed Thunder, I would rarely miss WCWSN and more often then not I would at least watch Dean's comp tapes of Pro and Worldwide. Jones was one of those random WCW guys who you could always sort of count on to entertain you in a random tag. There were definitely points where he was the best wrestler in the NWO, and would be the only guy in the stable willing to take any bumps.

Here he is working his WWF gimmick against local Canadian heel Timothy Flowers. Flowers has that Zandigish look of a guy who used to be really cut, but then stopped lifting, but didn't stop the roids. For that guy he is way better then Glen Osbourne or Nate Hatred, but not as good as Smackdown run Animal. He takes a lot of bumps for a guy who I imagine owns the ring. Virgil has fun looking punches, and is willing to take some mid-level bumps on the floor, including getting run into the bleachers. You also have the spot where Flowers tries a headbutt and is thwarted by Virgil's hard negro head. I imagine that will be a leitmotif in this set of Black History Month reviews. Shit finish, with Virgil getting the knucks from Flowers and getting DQed for using them. Seems like you could put Virgil over. Really a much better match then it has any right to be, and if I went to a Canadian Indy I would be fully satisfied with this as a main event


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