Segunda Caida

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

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My Flesh and My Heart May Fail, But Yoshiaki Fujiwara is My Strength

Yoshiaki Fujiwara v. Super Tiger 7/17/85 UWF-EPIC

TKG: They air ten minutes of a fifteen minute match here but the ten minutes we get is really great. Sayama is wrestling without his mask at this point and really facially resembles Billy Joel and I think my visceral dislike of Billy Joel kind of effects the way I watch all his stuff. I don't know what I'd think watching a Pete Roberts vs. Sayama match. Who do you root for when William F Buckley and Billy Joel get into a fight?

Sayama is pretty much just all stiff kicks in this and doesn't really have any answers for Fujiwara's submissions and this is like the best possible Dick Vrij vs Volk Han match. As this really is a one man Fujiwara show. They do do a couple of Sayama gets crab on Fujiwara spots which get a big pop, and Fujiwara does a couple variations on his signature Santo style headspin escapes. When Fujiwara gets a hold on Sayama, Syama really dives for ropes. But for the most part this match is built on Fujiwara's standing defenses. Fujiwara is all about the defense, trying to catch the leg, catching Sayama in clinches, trying to dodge and feint to avoid kicks, and roll with strikes trying never to get hit cleanly.

The dodging and feinting is really neat visual and something he doesn't do a ton in the other matches. It reminded me a lot of Yosuke Nishijima vs. Mark Hunt. The story that people tell about that match is that it was the equivalent of Takayama vs. Frye where two crazy guys are just exchanging. Not accurate description.Nishijima was a journeyman pro-boxer and he's turning and weaving to avoid taking any punches cleanly while hitting his punches at will. Nishijima is over 50 lbs lighter than Hunt and really had no power behind his punches. So the story is if Hunt hits a punch cleanly he will hurt Nishijima, but will Hunt gass before he can do that.

Here you had a same dynamic of guy with knock out power vs. guy who is avoiding and turning with the strikes. Of course here Sayama is the smaller guy. So while the Hunt fight kind of exposed Hunt, this match really really puts Sayama over. As its all about Sayama having KO power if he can connect. But Fujiwara for most part is too skilled to allow him to connect.

When Fujiwara lets Sayama slip out of a takedown, Sayama is able to stand up quick and nail Fujiwara with a kick to the kidneys and its essentially over. Once Fujiwara starts taking clean hits, he's knocked off his game and less able to defend. The match ends with spectacular knock out where Fujiwara still tries to defend and catches the back of Sayama's ankle on the way down. But at this point he's been hit cleanly too many times and its too late.

PAS: Much like Tom, I truly loved this match. Fujiwara working around a kicker may be my favorite style of Fujiwara match. He has such great sense of placement in the ring, he is great at moving both too far for his opponents to hit him or too close to hit him cleanly. We got a great sense of that place here, right up until the kidney shot which slows him down. Sayama is a guy who was really over, and when he lands these wild kicks the crowd gets into it, the way crowds would get into a Tyson fight. He becomes this vicious force of nature, and Fujiwara is amazing at conveying the guys being overwhelmed by the wave. Excellent stuff.

Yoshiaki Fujiwara/Yuki Ishikawa v. Tom Howard/Sean McCully Zero One 7/13/01-GREAT

Very entertaining match. I have really started to dig early 21st century Tom Howard. He looks perfectly comfortable working hold with both Fujiwara and Ishikawa which is no small feat. He also does a great job working spots around his Dolph Lungren Universal Solider gimmick. McCully is a potbellied cross eyed midget working a shooter gimmick, but Fujiwara is a guy who can working a compelling shoot style match with pretty much anyone. Take any guy teaching Tae Kwon Doe at a strip mall dojo, and I bet Fujiwara could pull a three star match out of him. The Fujiwara v. McCully stuff was fun, but the Fujiwara v. Howard was the class. There is a great mat section where Howard is fighting for a kimura, while Fujiwara is attempting to work an ankle pick, it is awesomel to watch the different was that they parry and counter each attack, simultaneously working offense and defense. The finish was both awesome and preposterous, Howard steps on the interior part of Fujiwara's knee dropping him down, then he does some goofy looking action movie neck snap, the kind of thing Sly Stallone would do in Cobra and the ref quickly stops the match. Kind of silly, but Fujiwara sold the fuck out of it and it really got over Howard's whole Commando vibe.

Yoshiaki Fujiwara/Alexander Otsuka v. Shinjiro Ohtani/Masato Tanaka Zero One 7/6/03-FUN

This was a match which really didn't live up to it's promise. The story they were telling was that Otsuka was trying to prove himself. He refused to tag out to Fujiwara no matter how bad a beating he took. Otsuka takes a big beating, including some impressive bumps on clotheslines and suplexes and he really sold the story he was trying to sell. Still this is a Fujiwara project and this match really had minimal Fujiwara. Also we didn't get to see very much of the different things that make Otsuka so fun, as he was basically a punching bag. I get what they were doing, and they did it well, I just wanted to see something different.


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Monday, May 30, 2011

My Favorite Wrestling: WCW Worldwide 2/27 & 3/6/99


Damian vs. Norman Smiley

This was about as awesome as you can get in 200 seconds. Damian - just like the Hak match - got a lot of offense: big tope, some stiff kicks, where have these offense-heavy Damian matches been hiding? And holy lord I forgot how RIDICULOUSLY over the Big Wiggle was. A black man, in the south, simulating anal sex with another man, was by FAR the most over thing on this entire episode. Men in the crowd were jumping up and screaming and fist pumping every time he even TEASED butt sex. Touches his own chest intimately? Every dude in the building screaming. I don't think I could have ever predicted that if I were on the booking committee throwing out ideas.

Dave Burkhead vs. Jerry Flynn

This was fun because Burkhead is a guy doesn't have much offense, so it's nice seeing him against people with cool offense because he just kinda sits there and takes it with his out-of-shape Michael Chiklis body. Flynn is a guy who has a bunch of cool kicks, but his match quality gets better the lower on the totem pole his opponent is. Goldberg isn't going to take stiff kicks. Dave Burkhead though? Flynn laces into Burkhead for the bulk of the match and shows off all the cool kick variations. He hits a nasty spin kick right under Dave's chin, just FUTEN level brual and it was great.

Bobby Eaton vs. Brian Adams

This was allllllmost really good, but it had too much so-so Adams offense, and not enough Eaton. Eaton took some nice bumps and had a momentary comeback that was GREAT when Horace jumped onto the apron for interference and Eaton just whirled around and gave him the big right hand, Horace flew off the apron, but then Adams cut him off for the win.


Scott Armstrong vs. Kidman

This was all about Scott being awesome, and showcasing the two polar opposite sides of one Billy Kidman. Kidman has some of the lightest possible offense, like 0.7 Lance. But then Kidman takes three different awesome insane bumps. A great bumper will rank higher with me than somebody with great offense. But I challenge you to find a wrestler with better bumps, and worse offense. I think Kidman represents the largest gap between those two skills. The bumps are what saved this match, because every piece of offense looked like hot garbage. BUT the massive bump over the top to the floor was gorgeous. Scott was on fire here, trying to make Kidman's offense look credible (best take of the "can't powerbomb Kidman" reverse I've seen, really whipping his head and face right into the mat) so this was very close to being very good.

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Hell Freeze Over Like the Watch Togo's Puts His Sleeve Over

SATO/Great Sasuke v. Ultimo Dragon/Masao Orihara WAR 3/2/94-FUN

This had some really strong moments and good performances, but I just don't think these kind of matches are doing a ton for me in 2010. It went too long, even with a clip in the middle, and didn't feel like it had much of a structure. Just a lot of guys doing a bunch of things, some of the things are really cool, but it didn't build much of a coherent tale. I really like Orihara as either an underdog fighting through a beating, or a dickish asshole stiffing people. He can do both in one match and make it work, but here it felt a little like he was shifting back at forth randomly. Also Sasuke brutally blew the Sasuke Special #2 which ruined what had been an awesome dive train. Otherwise Sasuke was pretty great, as he really has a awesome overall shtick, graceful and crazy, as adept at quick lucha exchanges as lunatic bumping. Man is SATO stellar too, such crazy agility for a stocky dude, he had the best dive in a match with Orihara, Ultimo and Great fucking Sasuke which is really something. Ultimo had some nice moments, I loved him dickishly breaking up a pin by kicking Sasuke in the eye Tenryu style, but he is still consistently the least guy in almost every match I see him in. I think folks will enjoy this, but I wanted it to be better.

Dick Togo v. Super Delfin MPRO 6/22/97-FUN

This is a pretty well known match amongst wrestling nerds of the 90s. Togo just destroys Delfin here. Completely one sided asskicking, including Togo breaking Delfin's nose on a DDT off a stage on a table. After his nose gets smashed, Togo keeps dropping him on his face and kicking him in said nose. It was a really great attack on someone wearing Delfin's mask. There was blood dripping down out of the pointy nose. The finish of the match has Delfin beaten so badly that he prostrates himself by crawling through Togo's legs to submit. It was a bizarre angle as it feels like a Vince McMahon humiliation of Jim Ross, although it is hard not to find it compelling. Not much of a match, but a heck of a spectacle.


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Saturday, May 28, 2011

To Die By Regal's Side is Such a Heavenly Way to Die

Steven Regal v. Tiger Dalibar Singh South Africa 1987-EPIC

What a great discovery, a hell of a match and a window into a wrestling scene I had never seen before. Despite the pleas of U2 Regal decided to play Sun City. Singh is an old World Of Sport guy and the promoter of the fed. The crowd seems to be almost entirely South Asian, which isn't what I expected from a 80's South African wrestling show. So obviously Regal is working heel against a ethnic babyface and is great at it. We start with some very WOS style mat work with Regal hanging on hard to a wrist lock while Singh flips and spins him around. Singh is a solid grappler and built like a tank. Once he gets rolling, he bumps Regal all around the ring. This is the most athletic and theatric I have ever seen Regal bump, he is really at a Curt Hennig or Ric Rude level during parts of this match. Match breaks down into some pretty nasty brawling, especially after Regal grabs a fall on a missed body press. Regal goes after Sighs stomach, and the crowd got very animated, we might have gotten another Soweto Uprising if Regal had been able to pull out the win.

Lord Steven Regal v. Shinya Hashimoto NJ 4/16/95-EPIC

Holy hell what a war! Regal takes it to Hashimoto and beats the shit out of him worse then anyone this side of Tenryu. Especially early he just overwhelms Hash, breaking his nose with a palm thrust and painfully wrenching his limbs. Hash fires back a little bit, but Regal has a bunch of nifty cut offs, stepping on the inside of his knee or catching him with a knuckle to his eye. There is a great moment where Hashimoto goes for a kimura and Regal breaks it by driving his forearm into Hash's broken nose, then on the way up he gives Hashimoto a short little kick to the eye. When Hash finally gets the advantage he lands huge, with a huge jumping kick and some shoulder separating chops. They go back and forth with Regal pounding at the smashed nose, and Hash unloading with kicks. Regal is a really underrated in ring bumper, he just gets spiked by Hash's DDT (after previously reversing twice), before going down to a cross armbar. Crossing the line potato shot Regal is probably my favorite iteration of Regal, and this was as violent as the nastiest moments of the Finlay feud. Just a treat.

Lord Steven Regal/Earl Robert Eaton v. Dick Slater/Bunkhouse Buck WCW 9/1/95-FUN

This is an awesome looking match on paper, but instead of a great brawl or a classic Southern tag, it is mostly comedy spots. We have a bunch of Regal making faces at the smell of Buck's shirt, a little Slater and Regal brawling and then Sister Sherri coming out and trying to get her hands on Robert Fuller's legendarily huge cock. Regal is great at making bad smell faces, and Fuller is rumored to have a huge dick, but I wanted more from this match.


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Friday, May 27, 2011

SLL's All-Savage Friday Night

Randy Savage was professional wrestling to me. Like, if wrestling were a person, it would be the Macho Man. Everything sublime and everything ridiculous, everything I love about this stupid, wonderful, fakey sport that I adore...Savage was that. It's been one week since his death today, and as our national period of mourning continues, I think it's only right to pay homage to the man with this week's All-Request Friday Night, as we look back at five Macho matches requested by you, the Segunda Caida readership. Bonesaw is ready, and so am I.

Randy Savage vs. Genichiro Tenryu (Wrestling Summit 8/12/1990)
Requested by Kronos

"Excitement is where I am, and enthusiasm is where I go"....These aren't just words from a promo, this was a genuine code of conduct for Savage. Nobody got you amped up for a match like this guy. He comes to the ring, bristling with energy, that even king of wrestling stoicism Tenryu feels compelled to throw his ring jacket in his face from the floor, just because being in Savage's presence forces you to lash out emotionally in ways you might not otherwise. Then Savage flips out, and he and Sherri are trying to screen Tenryu out of the ring. As long as we're paying tribute to the deceased, Sherri is absolutely queen-sized here (also queen-sized: Sherri's ass...sweet fancy Moses). She was really a perfect valet for heel Savage. Whereas Miss Elizabeth was as effective as she was as Savage's valet because her personality was so different, creating a compelling "beauty and the beast" contrast, Sherri was effective because she was a more smashable version of Savage himself, an intense, volatile personality feeding into and off of Macho Madness. I thought that really came across well here.

This was the big interpromotional show most famous for the Hulk Hogan vs. Stan Hansen main event that a lot of folks have pointed to as the best Hogan match ever. I haven't seen it in a few years, though I've always enjoyed before. However, this match gets glossed over, and on rewatch, I think it might be just as good. Savage loses a shoving match early, and Tenryu is suddenly this plucky, fired-up babyface as Savage loses his shit. He paces around on the outside, has these great facial expressions reacting to the crowd, tells off the referee, and then opts to slingshot back inside, only for Tenryu to paste him with a barrage of hard chops. Tenryu controls a pretty large chunk of this match, and he really lights Savage up with chops, clotheslines, and a flying crossbody off of the apron before Sherri runs interference. I love that Sherri will forearm you in the back hard enough to make you look like a complete badass when you no-sell the valet's offense. Savage kicks out the back of Tenryu's knee and then throws him down hard on the timekeeper's table. Remember that this was back when Tokyo Dome shows had the ring on a raised stage. The timekeeper's table is down a level from that. Savage beats the shit out of Tenryu around the ringside area while Sherri yells at the timekeeper (who apparently took great umbrage to his table being sullied) and various other personnel. Savage controls most of the rest of the match, breaking out the flying axehandle (both in the ring and to the floor) and the top rope elbow, but can't put Tenryu away. At the end of the match, he does a top rope crossbody, and it's the one weak point of the match, as Tenryu was really standing there waiting for it for a while. Still, it does lead to a clever finish, as Savage hits it, but tweaks his knee on the landing, giving Tenryu room to recover and catch him with an enzuigiri and stuff powerbomb for the win. This was awesome, and really left me wishing they had done more interpromotional stuff. Savage was a ton of fun in this setting, and Tenryu worked in a way where he wouldn't have looked out of place as a babyface in the US.

Randy Savage, Harley Race, & Adrian Adonis vs. Ricky Steamboat, The Junk Yard Dog, & Roddy Piper - Elimination Match (WWF 2/23/1987)
Requested by Bloodstain

This is kind of a tricky match for me to review. The layout was outstanding, which is almost a given for Savage matches. What's interesting is that beyond that, there isn't really a lot specific about the match that I can point to as being great, and there are actually a few off moments, and yet, I had a smile on my face the whole time I was watching it. It's very much wrestling comfort food. You have six guys, all of whom are capable of bringing something to the table (JYD hadn't done it in a long time, but he was theoretically capable). None of them give a transcendent performance (though the stuff between Steamboat's elimination and the continuation of the match with Piper as the last remaining babyface may be the best interfall sequence I've ever seen in a match), but on some level, they all deliver what you want from them, they keep it rolling consistently for almost 20 minutes, and that's enough. That's all you really need to be satisfied. Steamboat is a great enthusiastic babyface, Piper is a loveable wildman, Adonis and Race both do some theatrical bumps for the faces and are fun, stoogey heels, JYD doesn't get totally smoked, Slick is hilarious on commentary, and Savage is dangerous and unpredictable, but also kinda cowardly when you have him on the spot. It all comes together, and it's just a good time.

Randy Savage vs. Harley Race (WWF 9/18/1987)
Requested by Phil Schneider

WWF-era Race was not exactly the best Race. I think we all know that. Still, he definitely had stuff going for him as a worker, and Savage is a guy who knows how to work with what an opponent is able to give him. The result is one of Race's better WWF matches, and maybe his best WWF singles match. It's kind of a low-end version of Race vs. Iceman King Parsons from World Class in '83 minus the screwjob ending, as Race is working as grumpy veteran flustered by the high-energy younger generation guy. He was more grumpy than flustered against Iceman, whereas here, he is more flustered than grumpy. His stooging also isn't quite as spectacular as it was four years prior, though it was definitely fun. Savage charges about the ring at the beginning, and Race backpedals, flailing his arms around like he's being attacked by bees, not sure what to make of this crazy kid. His bumping isn't what it was four years prior, but he will get knocked around a lot, take a spill over the top rope (both out of and into the ring), do some great punch drunk staggering, and miss a falling headbutt on the concrete, which had to have sucked to do (and which he blades off of, but you can't really tell from the poor video quality here). Savage holds up his end of the bargain, delivering a quality beatdown with fists, feet, and elbows flying around hard enough to let Race do what he does best. Race takes over, and his offense isn't what it was four years prior, but there's enough left Harley's big bag of moves to impress. He spikes Randy pretty good with a piledriver, some hard fists, and an in-ring falling headbutt that doesn't miss his mark. While this is going on, we get some great picture-in-picture shots of Elizabeth at ringside, hiding her face whenever Macho gets dropped with a big move. We get a fun little finishing stretch, too. Savage punches and bionic elbows his way back onto offense, sending Race tumbling, but he's too close to the ropes to score a pin. he hits a top rope axehandle that Race takes a full DiBiase bump off of, but that sends him all the way to the other side of the ring, so he gets a rope break there, too. It's down to the elbow drop, but Race rolls out of the way. He tries to capitalize with a suplex, but Savage floats over and grabs an O'Connor roll for the win. Maybe not an essential match, but hey, it's Savage vs. Race. You know you want to see it. It's definitely a great one, and a great example of Savage's notoriously thorough pre-match planning paying dividends, as he gets the most out of an aging opponent who's limitations were starting to show, but who still had some real skills to show.

Randy Savage vs. Roddy Piper (WWF 1/22/1990)
Requested by Lacelle

Piper is an interesting guy. He was capable for a large part of his career of delivering in the ring, but he was unafraid to not bring the goods if he didn't have to. This isn't a terrible Piper performance, but it is a match that works mainly because of Savage and Sherri. Sherri's antics early on a priceless, trying to get a peek under Piper's kilt, and then taking a few swipes at him, which he dodges easily and then ends up falling on her ample keister. This creates a distraction, allowing Savage to come off of the top with an axehandle, and if you like Randy Savage's flying axehandles, this is the match for you. At least two in the ring, and two outside, which was nuts. The closing stretch is pretty rad. Piper does an airplane spin, and falls on top of him for two. Savage comes back, does his own, longer airplane spin, stumbles to the corner, climbs to the top, and then tumbles to the floor. Awesome, awesome spot. And when he gets back to his feet, Piper comes off of the apron with his own axehandle. Sherri jumps on his back, getting Savage DQ'd (I think, they don't actually announce the result), and you could imagine she's doing the sleeper, just to complete the hat trick. There's some fun post-match brawling, and Sherri gets her dress hiked up an exposes her thong just for good measure. Ain't nothing wrong with that.

Randy Savage vs. Hulk Hogan (WWF 1/27/1986)
Requested by Hijo del Parties

A bit on the short side, but it still smokes their Mania 5 match. Savage is all over Hogan from the get-go, repeatedly attacking him with the WWF Title until Liz gets concerned. This leads to one of the better Hulk Ups ever, as Savage yells at Liz while she tries to talk him down, but it forces him to let up on Hogan and allows him to pop up and make the comeback. He does so while wearing Macho's shades, for that matter. Damn, Hogan is actually throwing some good hands here. This is a fun little brawl. Nice to see Savage's flying elbow not instantly revive Hogan, even if he does Hulk up out of it. Good screwy finish with Hogan trying to ram Savage into the post on the outside, but Liz standing in his way, and Hogan actually being gentlemanly for once and refusing to ram into the helpless woman. This, however, gives Savage the opportunity to escape and get back in the ring, winning the match by countout. Good pull-apart, too, with Savage breaking away and scoring a cheap shot before bolting from ringside. I love that guy. Thank you, Macho Man. You are wrestling.

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Top 30 Thursday - Memphis #10. Jerry Lawler vs. Randy Savage (Loser Leaves Town), 6/3/85

10. Jerry Lawler vs. Randy Savage (Loser Leaves Town) 6/3/85

Lawler and Savage had a great rivalry over the years, but this is clearly the pinnacle of their feud. This was the second run of the Lawler v. Savage feud, Savage came in as an invader from ICW, turned face and then turned heel again and this was the final battle, with the Loser Leaving Town. The match starts with a classic Memphis slow burn. Lawler starts by pot shotting Macho, with Savage getting more and more frustrated, even breaking out the peekaboo Boxing stance. Savage starts prowling around the ring like a leopard, jumping out to jaw at the fans, throwing chairs into the ring, overturn ring stantions. At his best Savage may have been the greatest short fuse wrestler ever. You really got the sense he might snap and start beating fans or pistol whipping Bill Dundee with his own gun.

We unfortunately get a clip and the story of the match kicks in, with Savage bumping Lawler off of ring apron face first into the thick wooden Memphis table. Lawler is one of the great bumpers in wrestling history, and this was a great bump. He opens a cut over his eye and Savage launches a vicious attack on the wound. Biting it, slamming Lawler into the post, unloading with shot after shot. Then you have a truly classic wrestling finish. The referee stops the bout due to the seriousness of the cut over Lawler's eye, with Lance Russell talking about how Lawler might lose the eye. The King crawls over to the house microphone to get the Mid South Coliseum to beg the ref to restart it. By the time Tom Renesto orders the match restarted the crowd is apoplectic. We then get arguable the greatest strap drop Lawler has ever done, as he just rapid fire assaults Savage with punches, two fistdrops and a piledriver for the win. It really felt like the absolute last burst of energy he had, if he didn't beat him with that flurry, he was done. I normally don't like quick finishes after restarts, but it really worked for me here. The fact that this just barely made the top 10 is a real statement to the quality of Memphis wrestling in the 1980's. What a match.

80's Project Results

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wednesday Night Bootleg- Hardy v. Hardy

Jeff Hardy v. Matt Hardy 4/16/09 Koln Germany

Some of my fonder wrestling road trips were back in the final days of the 20th Century when Dean, Phil Rippa and I would take road trips down to small towns in North Carolina to watch the Organization of Modern Grappling Arts. OMEGA was this weird hybrid of ECW and SMW, lots of crazy North Carolina kids doing the kind of insane spots you didn't see on the indies, while putting them into great southern wrestling matches. I remember checking out a nutty Willow the Whisp v. Surge street fight in Southern Pines NC with both guys killing each other with chairs, ladders and tables. Ten years later they did basically the same match in front of a ton of folks in the WWE in Germany. It isn't something which translates that well to an arena setting, as the bar has been lifted past what anyone is going to do on a house show. Still this had its moments, both Hardys will die some, the crowd seemed really into it, and the finish (which had Matt placing a chair on his belly to counter the swanton) was pretty cool. Still I am pretty sure nostalgia is making me overrate this, but Rippa and Dean should check it out.


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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

This Sounds a Bit Like Goodbye, In A Way It Is I Guess. As I Leave Savage and The King Have Taken The Air

Jerry Lawler/Randy Savage v. King Kong Bundy/Ric Rude CWA 9/17/84-EPIC

Total batshit brawl, without a second of downtime. This had that classic Memphis brawl feel with people just recklessly chucking chairs and tables willy nilly. Those Mid South Coliseum thick wood tables look like the really hurt when you get caught upside the head with them. I also loved the spot where Bundy is standing on the over turned table with Lawler being smushed underneath like a PBJ sandwich at the bottom of a book bag. Savage was a total whirlwind in this match, wandering around like a lunatic, constantly flinging himself off the top rope onto folks on the floor. No one was catching any of these dives, Savage was coming down and either move or get smashed. Finish of this match was overbooked in a good way. Lawler spikes rude with a piledriver and Bundy splashes the ref to break the count. We get a second ref running down, but as he is counting Bundy down, they do the back suplex double pin finish with the first ref. Not sure it needed that finish, although it fit with the chaos of the match. Great example of the barely controlled riot which Memphis did so well.

Jerry Lawler v. Randy Savage WWF 8/13/93-GREAT

This was very similarly worked to their Nassau Coliseum match a year later, Lawler working his signature heel match, hiding a chain and pounding on an over babyface. Savage however was way more game then he was a year earlier. Lawler breaks out the toastmasters joke book over the microphone to start, and Savage comes out with his own Macho midget dressed in matching gear. Lawler goes after the midget, and is able to crack Savage with a chain while he was on midget defense. Savage takes a huge over the top rope bump and a nasty post shot, and Lawler does the things he did. No one does that particular dance as well as heel King, and we even got a great douche bag rope a dope by Lawler. Savage takes over and chucks Lawler over the top where the king does his insane signature bump, and gets smashed into steel posts. It looks like Savage is going to finish him off, but Lawler surprisingly retakes control by catching him with a shot to the belly off an axehandle. Lawler hits his piledriver but Bret Hart comes out and the jaw back and forth before Lawler spits on Hart, causing Bret to rush the ring and the DQ. Definitely one of the better 90's WWF Lawler matches I have seen, and it was fun to watch Lawler and Savage working with the heel/face roles reversed.

Jerry Lawler v. Randy Savage WWF 9/28/93-GREAT

Awesome violent sprint, which was only a better finish away from being epic. Starts fast with Savage leaping over the top rope and attempting to ram Lawler into the post. The King does this awesome counter, where he stops short leading Savage to post himself. Then Lawler takes over and pounds on Randy with some great rights and lefts and especially nasty uppercuts. This wasn't hide the chain, this was kick your ass. Lawler then goes to crotch Savage on the post and Randy blocks it and uses his legs to pull Jerry nose first into the post. As I have said before, and assuredly will say again, no one takes a post shot like Jerry Lawler, he really looks like he smashed his nose into pieces, and Savage smashes him the face with punches and cracks him into the stairs and the post again. Lawler gets a bit more of a advantage before just deciding to bail. Bret Hart comes from the back chasing him into a roll up. Only about six minutes, but everything up to the end was super focused and really violent. This was as intense as their big Memphis matches crushed into a diamond. Hell of a match.


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Monday, May 23, 2011

My Favorite Wrestling: WCW Worldwide 3/13/99 & 3/20/99


Damian vs. Hak

Well this was some damn enjoyable WCW right here. This was awesome, probably the most Damian offense I've ever seen in any of his WCW matches. He gets a couple dives (including a really nice somersault tope) and a moonsault, bunch of nasty looking singapore cane clotheslines and shots to Hak's throat, and a sick running knee to the face (using a chair to springboard off). Hak has some crazy bumps, including one where he dumps himself onto his own head geting thrown into the guard rail (which seemed to be a regular Sandman spot). One of the most fun 3 minute matches I've ever seen.

Mike Enos vs. Booker T

Well this SHOULD have been awesome, as Enos is always more than game, but Booker just threw some of the sloppiest kicks possible in this match. All sorts of goofy spin kicks and some of them just looked lame. Still, it was a long match and quite competitive. Enos looked real good. Every time he would go on offense the match would get good, then Booker would throw some sort of back leg front back spin forward jump kick and Enos would try his damndest to make it look like something that would hurt a man.


Barry Horowitz vs. Ernest Miller

This was disappointing as it only goes about 45 seconds. Barry was really making Cat's kicks look painful, and then it just stopped. I know my heart is in the wrong place by being disappointed by an Ernest Miller match (I mean, what is the best case scenario when you watch an Ernest Miller singles match?), but 45 seconds? That's just pointless.

Kaz Hayashi vs. Raven

Well good grief THIS is (maybe) far and away the best match I have watched for this project so far. It is insanely great and totally out of left field. I was expecting a squash just like the previous match and thankfully I couldn't have been more wrong. Raven gave Kaz EVERYthing in this match, and Kaz looks like one of the best in the world in 1999 (just checked, he was #32 on the DVD500 for that period, so maybe that notion isn't so crazy...). There is so much awesome stuff in the match, it is easily one of my favorite sub-5 minute matches EVER. Kaz takes some insane bumps, including a missed somersault senton over the top to the floor. He hits TWO sentons off the top rope (with Raven under a chair!), they both take a beating from the other, and this is just too awesome. For a guy who is a total joke these days, Raven looked pretty damn good in '99. Made me excited to see other Raven matches from this time period. This match NEEDS to be seen by everybody.

*Goodhelmet informed me right after I'd seen this and was gushing about it to him, that apparently it is on one of the earlier Schneider comps. So I'm like 10 years late to this party. But better late than never! Go buy that comp!

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Best of the 1980's Project: Reviews and Results

The DVDVR 80's project has always been tied closely to Segunda Caida. I came up with the project during a conversation with Bix and Kris Zellner, and took the lead in bringing in Goodhelmet, Tomk, SLL and EricR have all helped with match selections, it is as much a SC project as a DVDVR one. So we have decided here to review the top 30 finishers for each of the sets. Results are below with links to reviews. Check in for Top Thirty Thursdays where we will be adding new reviews every week.

Other Japan Results -Top 30

1. Nobuhiko Takada vs Akira Maeda UWF 11/10/88
2. Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Super Tiger UWF 12/5/84
3. Nobuhiko Takada vs Bob Backlund UWF 12/22/88
4. Riki Choshu vs Genichiro Tenryu JPW 2/21/85
5. Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Super Tiger UWF 7/17/85
6. Masakatsu Funaki vs Tatsuo Nakano UWF 7/24/89
7. Super Tiger vs Yoshiaki Fujiwara UWF 9/7/84
8. Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Kazuo Yamazaki UWF 1/7/85
9. Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Super Tiger UWF 9/11/85
10. Kazuo Yamazaki vs Nobuhiko Takada UWF 8/13/88
11. Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Kazuo Yamazaki UWF 7/24/89
12. Super Tiger/Nobuhiko Takada vs Akira Maeda/Yoshiaki Fujiwara UWF 7/23/84
13. Akira Maeda vs Kazuo Yamazaki UWF 5/12/88
14. Atsushi Onita vs Masashi Aoyagi FMW 10/6/89
15. Kazuo Yamazaki vs Nobuhiko Takada UWF 9/11/85
16. Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Akira Maeda UWF 3/02/85
17. Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Nobuhiko Takada UWF 10/22/84
18. Nobuhiko Takada vs Yoshiaki Fujiwara UWF 10/25/89
19. Yoji Anjoh vs Masakatsu Funaki UWF 6/14/89
20. Super Tiger vs Akira Maeda UWF 9/11/84
21. Super Tiger vs Nobuhiko Takada UWF 9/6/85
22. Akira Maeda vs Kazuo Yamazaki UWF 5/21/89
23. Kazuo Yamazaki vs Nobuhiko Takada UWF 5/4/89
24. Bob Backlund vs Masakatsu Funaki UWF 5/21/89
25. Atsushi Onita vs Masashi Aoyagi UKIKM 6/2/89
26. El Gran Hamada vs Perro Aguayo UWF 4/11/84
27. Nobuhiko Takada vs Akira Maeda UWF 1/10/89
28. Kazuo Yamazaki vs Nobuhiko Takada UWF 12/5/84
29. Nobuhiko Takada vs Yoshiaki Fujiwara UWF 7/8/85
30. Super Tiger vs Yoshiaki Fujiwara UWF 6/24/85

Mid South Results -Top 30

1. Ted DiBiase vs. Hacksaw Duggan (No DQ, Loser Leaves Town, Coal Miner's Glove,Tuxedo, Cage match) 3/22/85
2. Dick Murdoch vs. Barry Windham 7/11/87
3. Ted DiBiase vs. Ric Flair 11/6/85
4. Hacksaw Duggan vs. Buzz Sawyer 11/11/85
5. Mr. Olympia vs. Chavo Guerrero 6/24/83
6. Butch Reed vs. Dick Murdoch 9/22/85
7. Ted DiBiase vs. Jim Duggan (No DQ) 3/8/85
8. Magnum T.A. vs. Ted DiBiase (No DQ, Tulsa) 5/27/84
9. Mr. Wrestling II & Magnum T.A. vs. Butch Reed & Jim Neidhart (Cage Match) 12/25/83
10. Junkyard Dog & Mr. Olympia vs. Ted DiBiase & Matt Borne (Loser Leaves Town) 10/27/82
11. Butch Reed vs. Dick Murdoch 10/14/85
12. Chris Adams vs. Terry Taylor 5/3/87
13. Rock N Roll Express & Hacksaw Duggan vs. Midnight Express & Ernie Ladd 6/8/84
14. Jake Roberts vs. Ric Flair 11/24/85
15. Ted DiBiase vs. Dick Murdoch (No DQ) 12/31/85
16. Terry Taylor vs. Ric Flair 6/1/85
17. Terry Gordy vs. Dr. Death 6/22/86
18. Magnum T.A. vs. Ted DiBiase 7/6/84
19. Ted DiBiase vs. Dick Murdoch 12/27/85
20. Ric Flair vs. Wahoo McDaniel 7/12/85
21. Dick Murdoch vs. Dr. Death 6/13/87
22. Ted DiBiase vs. Hacksaw Duggan (Street Fight) 7/29/83
23. Magnum T.A. vs. Ted DiBiase (No DQ, OKC) 5/27/84
24. Ric Flair vs. Butch Reed 8/10/85
25. Ric Flair vs. Terry Taylor 4/28/85
26. The Fabulous Ones vs. Chavo & Hector Guerrero (Mexican Death Match) 1/24/86
27. Ric Flair vs. Terry Taylor 5/3/85
28. Dick Slater vs. Jake Roberts (No DQ, Dark Journey In A Cage) 2/28/86
29. The Fantastics vs. Chavo & Hector Guerrero 10/12/84
30. Buzz Sawyer vs. Jim Duggan (Dog Collar Match) 12/27/85

Memphis Results -Top 30

1. Jerry Lawler vs. Bill Dundee (Loser Leaves Town) 6/6/83
2. Jerry Lawler vs. Bill Dundee (No DQ, Loser Leaves Town) 12/30/85
3. Jerry Lawler vs. Terry Funk (No DQ) 3/23/81
4. Jerry Lawler vs. Dutch Mantell (Barbed Wire Match) 3/29/82
5. Jerry Lawler vs. Dutch Mantell (No DQ) 3/22/82
6. Jerry Lawler vs. Austin Idol (Hair vs. Hair, Steel Cage Match) 4/27/87
7. Jerry Lawler vs. Bill Dundee (No DQ, Loser Leaves Town) 7/14/86
8. Koko Ware vs. Ric Flair 11/18/85
9. Jerry Lawler vs. Bam Bam Bigelow (Texas Death) 9/7/86
10. Jerry Lawler vs. Randy Savage (Loser Leaves Town) 6/3/85
11. Jerry Lawler vs. Terry Funk (Empty Arena) 4/6/81
12. Jerry Lawler & Dutch Mantel vs. Bill Dundee & Buddy Landel 3/10/86
13. Jerry Lawler vs. Nick Bockwinkel (No DQ) 11/8/82
14. Tommy Rich & Eddie Gilbert vs. Pretty Young Things (Falls Count Anywhere) 5/18/84
15. Jerry Lawler vs. Ric Flair 8/14/82
16. Jerry Lawler vs. Nick Bockwinkel 10/18/82
17. Jerry Lawler vs. Dutch Mantell (Loser Leaves Town) 3/27/82
18. Jerry Lawler & Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Austin Idol & Tommy Rich (Texas Death Match) 3/23/87
19. Jerry Lawler & Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Austin Idol & Tommy Rich (Double Jeopardy Match) 3/16/87
20. Fabulous Ones vs. The Moondogs (Stretcher Match) 5/2/83
21. Jerry Lawler vs. Curt Hennig (Title vs. Retirement) 5/9/88
22. Bobby Eaton & Sweet Brown Sugar vs. Dutch Mantell & King Cobra 7/19/82
23. Jerry Lawler vs. Nick Bockwinkel 10/25/82
24. Jerry Lawler vs. Rick Martel (Nashville) 10/12/85
25. Ricky Morton & Eddie Gilbert vs. Masa Fuchi & Atsushi Onita (Tupelo Concession Stand Brawl) 9/4/81
26. Bill Dundee vs. Sweet Brown Sugar (2/3 falls, Scaffold Match) 6/21/82
27. Ronnie Garvin vs. Randy Savage (Cage Match) ICW 1982/83
28. Jerry Lawler & Randy Savage vs. King Kong Bundy & Rick Rude 9/10/84
29. Fabulous Ones vs. The Sheepherders (Cage Match) 8/6/85
30. Jerry Lawler vs. Crusher Blackwell 5/4/81

New Japan Results -Top 30

1. 5-on-5 Gauntlet Challenge 4/19/84
2. Andre the Giant vs. Stan Hansen 9/23/81
3. Tatsumi Fujinami, Keiichi Yamada, Shiro Koshinaka, Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Kengo Kimura vs. Hiro Saito, Kuniaki Kobayashi, Super Strong Machine, Masa Saito & Riki Choshu 9/12/88
4. Antonio Inoki, Tatsumi Fujinami, Kengo Kimura, Umanosuke Ueda & Kantaro Hoshino vs. Akira Maeda, Yoshiaki Fujiwara, Osamu Kido, Nobuhiko Takada & Kazuo Yamazaki 3/26/86
5. Riki Choshu vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara 6/9/87
6. Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Akira Maeda 6/12/86
7. Jushin Liger vs. Naoki Sano 8/10/89
8. 5-on-5 Challenge 5/1/86
9. Andre the Giant vs. Killer Khan 4/1/82
10. Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Riki Choshu 4/3/83
11. Inoki/Fujiwara/Sakaguchi/Hoshino/Mutoh vs. Fujinami/Choshu/Maeda/Kimura/Super Strong Machine 8/19/87
12. Riki Choshu & Masa Saito vs. George Takano & Super Strong Machine 3/16/89
13. Antonio Inoki vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara 2/6/86
14. Tatsumi Fujinami, Nobuhiko Takada, Riki Choshu, Akira Maeda & Super Strong Machine vs. Antonio Inoki, Dick Murdoch, Yoshiaki Fujiwara, Masa Saito & Seiji Sakaguchi 9/17/87
15. Shinya Hashimoto vs. Vader 4/24/89
16. Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Riki Choshu 8/4/83
17. Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Riki Choshu 4/21/83
18. Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Kengo Kimura 1/2/87
19. Riki Choshu vs. Big Van Vader 6/27/89
20. Tatsumi Fujinami & Antonio Inoki vs. Dick Murdoch & Adrian Adonis 12/7/84
21. Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Riki Choshu 7/7/83
22. Antonio Inoki vs. Masa Saito 4/27/87
23. Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Dynamite Kid 2/5/80
24. Akira Maeda vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara 2/5/86
25. Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Vader 4/24/89
26. Antonio Inoki vs. Dick Murdoch 6/19/86
27. Shinya Hashimoto vs. Victor Zangiev 4/24/89
28. Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Kengo Kimura 9/25/80
29. Akira Maeda vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara 1/10/86
30. Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Riki Choshu 6/24/88

World Class Results - Top 30

1. Terry Gordy vs. Killer Khan (Texas Death Match; Special Guest Referee, Kerry Von Erich) 11/22/84
2. The Fabulous Freebirds vs. The Von Erichs 7/4/83
3. Ric Flair vs. Kerry Von Erich (2/3 falls) 8/15/82
4. Ric Flair vs. Kerry Von Erich (Cage Match) 12/25/82
5. Harley Race vs. Kevin Von Erich 6/17/83
6. Gino Hernandez & Chris Adams vs. Kerry & Kevin Von Erich (Hair vs. Hair Match) 10/6/85
7. Kerry Von Erich vs. Michael Hayes (Loser Leaves Town Cage Match) 11/24/83
8. Ric Flair vs. Kevin Von Erich 4/1/83
9. Terry Gordy & Buddy Roberts vs. Kerry & Kevin Von Erich (Badstreet Match) 2/12/88
10. Jimmy Garvin & Terry Gordy vs. David & Kevin Von Erich (2/3 Falls) 8/15/83
11. Ric Flair vs. Chris Adams 2/3/84
12. The Fabulous Freebirds & Jimmy Garvin vs. The Von Erichs & Iceman King Parsons (Elimination Match) 5/27/83
13. Kevin Von Erich vs. Ric Flair 5/5/85
14. Terry Gordy vs. Kerry Von Erich (World Title Match) 5/7/84
15. Gino Hernandez, Chris Adams & Jake the Snake vs. The Von Erichs 12/31/84
16. Ric Flair vs. David Von Erich 10/11/82
17. The Fabulous Freebirds vs. The Von Erichs (Lumberjack Match) 2/18/83
18. The Fantastics vs. Midnight Express 1/11/85
19 .The Fabulous Freebirds vs. The Von Erichs 9/5/83
20. The Fantastics vs. Midnight Express 12/25/84
21. The Fabulous Freebirds vs. The Von Erichs (Bunkhouse Elimination Cage Match) 9/3/84
22. Abdullah the Butcher vs. Bruiser Brody 8/4/86
23. Jimmy Garvin vs. Chris Adams (Cage Match) 1/30/84
24. Ric Flair vs. Terry Gordy 2/4/83
25. Jimmy Garvin vs. Kevin Von Erich 7/18/83
26. Gino Hernandez & Chris Adams vs. Kerry & Kevin Von Erich (Lumberjack Match) 2/22/85
27. Eric Embry vs. Jerry Lawler 9/8/89
28. Ric Flair vs. Kerry Von Erich 5/11/84
29. Chris Adams vs. Kevin Von Erich (No DQ) 9/2/85
30. The Fabulous Freebirds vs. The Von Erichs (Badstreet Match) 7/4/84

All Japan Results - Top 30

1. Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Genichiro Tenryu (6/5/89)
2. Genichiro Tenryu & Toshiaki Kawada vs. Stan Hansen & Terry Gordy (12/16/88)
3. Jumbo Tsuruta & Genichiro Tenryu vs. Riki Choshu Yoshiaki Yatsu (1/28/86)
4. Jumbo Tsuruta & Yoshiaki Yatsu vs. Genichiro Tenryu & Stan Hansen (12/6/89)
5. Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Ric Flair (6/8/83)
6. Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Kerry Von Erich (2/3 Falls) (5/22/84)
7. Giant Baba & Rusher Kimura vs. Genichiro Tenryu & Stan Hansen (11/29/89)
8. Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Genichiro Tenryu (8/31/87)
9. Riki Choshu vs. Killer Khan (7/31/86)
10. Terry Funk vs. Stan Hansen (4/14/83)
11. Toshiaki Kawada & Ricky Fuyuki vs. Dan Kroffat & Doug Furnas (6/5/89)
12. Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Genichiro Tenryu (10/11/89)
13. Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Genichiro Tenryu (10/28/88)
14. Jumbo Tsuruta & Yoshiaki Yatsu vs. Genichiro Tenryu & Toshiaki Kawada (2/26/89 TV)
15. Billy Robinson vs. Nick Bockwinkel (12/11/80)
16. Jumbo Tsuruta & Kenta Kobashi vs. Genichiro Tenryu & Stan Hansen (7/15/89)
17. Dory and Terry Funk vs. Stan Hansen & Terry Gordy (8/31/83)
18. Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Stan Hansen (10/21/86)
19. Jumbo Tsuruta & Genichiro Tenryu vs. Riki Choshu & Yoshiaki Yatsu (2/5/86)
20. Bruiser Brody & Jimmy Snuka vs. Dory and Terry Funk (12/13/81)
21. Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Ric Flair (6/8/82)
22. Toshiaki Kawada & Ricky Fuyuki vs. Shunji Takano & Shinichi Nakano (7/19/88)
23. Genichiro Tenryu & Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Killer Khan & Riki Choshu (8/2/85)
24. Genichiro Tenryu vs. Stan Hansen (3/27/88)
25. Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Tiger Mask (3/9/88)
26. Jumbo Tsuruta & Genichiro Tenryu vs. Riki Choshu & Yoshiaki Yatsu (1/24/87)
27. Genichiro Tenryu vs. Stan Hansen (7/27/88)
28. Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Dick Slater (5/1/80)
29. Jumbo Tsuruta & Genichiro Tenryu vs. Riki Choshu & Yoshiaki Yatsu (2/5/87)
30. Masa Fuchi vs. Mitsuo Momota (3/29/89)

AWA Results - Top 30

1. Nick Bockwinkel vs. Curt Hennig (11/21/86)
2. Buddy Rose & Doug Somers vs. Midnight Rockers (8/30/86)
3. Buddy Rose & Doug Somers vs. Midnight Rockers (Cage Match) 1/17/87)
4. Nick Bockwinkel vs. Wahoo McDaniel (8/28/83)
5. Stan Hansen vs. Curt Hennig (5/31/86)
6. Buddy Rose & Doug Somers vs. Midnight Rockers (Cage Match) (12/25/86)
7. King Tonga, Masked Superstar & Sheik Adnan Kaissey vs. Crusher Blackwell & Sgt. Slaughter (Cage Match) (4/21/85)
8. Nick Bockwinkel vs. Curt Hennig (5/2/87)
9. Jerry Lawler vs. Kerry Von Erich (12/13/88)
10. Nick Bockwinkel vs. Rick Martel (9/20/84)
11. Tito Santana & Rick Martel vs. High Flyers (8/29/92)
12. Jerry Lawler vs. Curt Hennig (7/16/88)
13. Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Rick Martel (9/29/85)
14. Crusher Blackwell & Sheik Adnan Kaissey vs. High Flyers (Cage Match) (4/18/82)
15. Buddy Rose & Doug Somers vs. Midnight Rockers (1/27/87)
16. Nick Bockwinkel vs. Curt Hennig (12/25/86)
17. Ken Patera, Jesse Ventura & Bobby Heenan vs. Hulk Hogan & High Flyers (3/13/83)
18. Da Crusher & Greg Gagne vs. Crusher Blackwell & Sheik Adnan Kaissey (Cage Match) (3/25/84)
19. Crusher Blackwell vs. Mad Dog Vachon (Algerian Death Match) (5/22/83)
20. Stan Hansen vs. Crusher Blackwell (6/28/86)
21. Nick Bockwinkel vs. Ric Flair (1/17/86)
22. Adrian Adonis & Bob Orton Jr. vs. Midnight Rockers (January 1988)
23. Mr. Saito vs. Rick Martel (4/24/85)
24. Ric Flair vs. Magnum TA (9/28/85)
26. Crusher Blackwell & Ken Patera vs. High Flyers (11/24/83)
27. Nick Bockwinkel vs. Curt Hennig (3/7/87)
28. Stan Hansen vs. Nick Bockwinkel (4/20/86)
29. Nick Bockwinkel vs. Rick Martel (8/16/84)
30. Stan Hansen vs. Sgt. Slaughter (2/23/86)

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

CLASSIC PHIL and TOMK- Other Japan Matches from DVDVR 165

14. Atsushi Onita vs Masashi Aoyagi 10/6/89 FMW -Tomk

This is the main event of your first FMW show and is awesome. FMW at this point really isn't a garbage fed. I'm not sure what exactly it is, but it's not a garbage fed yet. Opening match is a lucharesu jr vs a guy in a mask who kind of wrestles like Ricky Rice and then there are a couple of matches between US wrestlers vs guys in gis, then a fat US women vs. three joshi girls and then there is this main event. This is worked as rounds style MMA v wrestling match. These basically need to follow a simple formula: one guy controls first round, opponent gets to answer in second round and then all hell breaks loose in third. It's simple formula. We watched a lot of these (in UWF and elsewhere) in putting this set of DVDs together and this is really one of the best.

Part of what makes this match so neat is that you have essentially a split crowd. Normally when people talk about Onita, the talking point is that he's extremely charismatic guy who knows how to milk that charisma. Normally in those conversations, people are referring to Onita's work as babyface. Here he really isn't the babyface. Match starts with Aoyagi getting presented with something like 8 flower bouquets from various women and children. Onita gets one bouquet as he watches the other women file past him. Aoyagi gets whole heap of streamers , while Onita gets one diffident one. And the crowd feels like its mostly made up of Aoyagi supporters, family of students, whatever. If WWF and WCW collapsed in the early nineties I imagine Flair would have spent the last decade working main events against local football coaches (former high school stars now coaching). These would be built around Flair working heel until coach finally gets three point stance and spears Flair. Maybe a more athletic coach would get to string together a shouldertackle, spear and flying tackle. There are large chunks of this match that feel like that fantasy Flair match.

First round is all Onita dominating through cheap shots, while Aoyagi maintains his dignity. Onita attacks before the bell, kicks at students, chokes, hits behind the head, kicks Aoyagi when he's down, etc. Aoyagi does some Dustyish "come on" challenges but really has too much dignity to fight back against the cheap shots and round ends with Onita chucking Aoyagi into his corner post bell.

Second round is all Aoyagi just wasting Onita with kicks and punches, while Onita bails and has to be protected by the ref. Onita gets one string of offense while ref holding Aoyagi back, Onita hits him with (an illegal?) lariat and then dropkicks Aoyagi out of ring, Aoyagi gets back into ring and again wastes Onita working him over like a heavybag. This would be the coach hits his tackles section, Flair would have done the beg off into low blow instead of the ref separating lariat.

Onita and Aoyagi go for the all hell breaks loose third fall. This is worked more give and take then the other rounds. Punches and kicks are exchanged until ref struggles to separate, Onita hits big suplex for Aoyagi to answer with big koppo kick...back and forth. Aoyagi says fuck maintaining my dignity, and spends the third round shrugging off the ref, kicking and punching Onita when he's down, chasing Onita into the crowd when Onita bails, and eventually throwing off the Gi. Aoyagi gets busted open for chasing Onita into the crowd and Onita tries to headbutt Aoyagi out of ring.

Onita lays on the mat between third and fourth round and they run a fourth fall where the towel finally gets thrown in..and you have Aoyagi busted open some more and a giant pull apart where Aoyagi's seconds and Onita's seconds get involved eventually leading Tarzan Goto, dressed in a cabana shirt and white pants looking like a villain from Wiseguy, to come in and slap Onita for disappointing his dojo. Fucking awesome.

15. Kazuo Yamazaki vs Nobuhiko Takada 9/11/85 UWF Phil

When these two were at their best in this set, it really was working young upstart against a strong veteran. Yamazaki working off Fujiwara and Takada working off of Meada and Backlund were really able to show their strengths and allow the veterans to work off of their fire and selling. Putting them against each other though, really creates the lucha problem of matching up two highflyers. They are both young firey underdogs, so you get kind of a mirror match, lots of sound and fury signifying nothing.
The opening matwork time killing section of this was pretty dull as UWF1 time killing matwork tended to be. They do a double spill to the floor, and then the last half of the match is pretty much all action. This really was a juniors match in pacing, and had some of the flaws of that style. Both guys doing lots of fancy stuff, for close near falls, but no real build. The stuff at the beginning doesn't lead to the stuff at the end, and neither guy ever really gets an advantage until the match ends.
However I can see why people liked this match more then I did. To be fair to it, the stuff is pretty great stuff. While both guys tended to be hit and miss with their stiffness on this set, they were bringing it here. The kicks thudded, and both guys did a great job both selling the impact of individual moves, and the cumulative effect of the shots. The first big highkick by Yamazaki was a spectacular shot, and the spectacular shots kept coming. Both guys are also really great at coming up at 9, or milking a submission right up to a rope break. The last half of this did have great individual things about it, it just didn't feel like much of a total match to me.

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Wattstoberfest Segunda Caida Style

Here are the SC contributions to the failed Wattstoberfest project. WE SHALL RETURN

12. "Gentleman" Chris Adams vs. Terry Taylor 5/3/87-EricR

Nice guys really do finish last. Terry Taylor spent this whole set using bland babyface offense and getting cheered by ladies and then losing. Like a loser. So he knew what he had to do.

This match was really well done and hit all of its intended goals: This was Terry Taylor's heel turn, and they had a 20 minute match to get it over. Taylor does a very nice job of subtley becoming an asshole over those 20 minutes, and it's a real treat to watch. He really starts at the lowest point and builds and slowly incorporates more heel tactics. Taylor basically started working as Flair in this match, right down to the kneedrop out of the corner. The cheating, the begging, the bumping. Real fun stuff.

It started off like most other Taylor matches: some opening matwork that appeared to be going nowhere fast, with Adams getting the duke. But here Taylor starts the subtle shift, showing real disgust and frustration after every break, when Adams keeps 1-upping him with headlock takeovers.

Over the course of the match, Taylor starts to transition to offense off of clean corner breaks. Adams breaks clean, Taylor knees him in the stomach and clubs the back of his neck. Carl Fergie breaks the two in the corner, and Taylor does a GREAT uppercut right to Adams neck.

At this point Taylor is audibly getting booed from the dudes, but still getting cheered by the ladies. I'm not going to do a Meltzer style John Cena boo/cheer percentage, but I thought it was cool that guys in the crowd were slowly like "Wait a minute, Taylor is using underhanded tactics" while the ladies were still chanting "Go Terry, Go!"

The match goes on and once the nearfalls start it gets really good. My favorite spot was when Adams going for a headlock takeover (which he had been hitting all match), and Taylor physically strains his neck forward in the headlock, holds his base, and deadlifts Adams back into an awesome backdrop. It looked really nasty with Taylor looking like he forcibly stopped his body from going over with the takedown, then just snapping Adams backwards. Later in the match Adams does a nasty deadlift backdrop of his own.

The match threatens to fall apart right at the end when Fergie does a strange ref bump/dive combo, essentially doing a face first flop in the middle of the ring. But, Adams conks heads with Fergie and rolls to the outside rattled, and at this point Taylor's facials looking around and seeing his chance was great. Similar situation to their previous match, which Taylor lost by countout. With Fergie still down Taylor goes out and just blasts Adams with a piledriver, then rolls in for the countout win.

By this point the fans are mostly against Taylor, and his tremendous post-match interview seals it. Taylor just acts like a complete unwitting deuche, with Ross and Magnum playing off him really well. "You don't think that was a cheap win?" And Taylor with just a great aloof expression on his face "No! Why would it be?" Then Eddie Gilbert comes out in his amazing acid wash jeans and OP button-up with suspenders, and I thought Magnum was gonna legit beat the shit out of Terry when he said something along the lines of "That wreck really messed you up".

Very well done match and angle.

13. Rock N Roll Express & Hacksaw Duggan vs. Midnight Express & Ernie Ladd 6/8/84-Lee Benaka

Cornette is a heat-magnet from the get-go, grabbing the mic to introduce his team to lots of boos from the Houston crowd. Ernie Ladd, thankfully not dressed for a Republican Party golfing fund-raiser is is the norm for his streetfights, is ready to start with Duggan, but the Express counsel him to leave, so it ends up being Morton and Eaton. Morton gets the best of two exchanges, sending Bobby back to hug Dennis, which inspires some homophobic mockery by Gibson. Dennis comes in and is promptly triple-teamed in the face corner. Eaton's cowardly attempts to save are amusing. Dennis tags in Ladd to work over Morton, and the ladies in the crowd squeal. Ladd lifts him up really high in the air by is hair twice and throws him down. Morton fails to knock down the big man but uses his quickness to get a drop kick in. Morton also gets some quick arm drags on Ladd after Ladd misses a punch. Ladd's subtle cautionary selling is fun to watch also. Morton continues to have his way with dropkicks until Ladd finally kicks him to set Morton up for the DEADLY DOUBLE LEG DROP OF DOOM. Ladd adds a slam and then tags in Eaton. Eaton quickly loses Morton, who tags in Duggan. So you have a tease of a Morton-in-peril segment, dramatic foreshadowing for the crazed beatdown to come. Duggan and Eaton have some eachanges before Duggan KILLS Eaton with a clothesline from the corner. Eaton tags Condrey soon, but Dennis doesn't want to get in the ring. The Express take turns trying to pin Duggan, and then try at the same time, a fun spot, while Ladd is covering his ears on the apron. Ladd unenthusiastically tags in from Condrey. Ladd eats a huge backdrop and can't slam Duggan's head into the corner, even with Condrey's help. Ladd goes to the tights and punches Duggan in the gut with something; the crowd is livid. Two more punches to Duggan's throat. Dennis distracts the ref so Bobby can hit Duggan with the racquet. Duggan hulks up a little too soon and tags Gibson. More tags, and Dennis throws Morton over the top rope, and Eaton hits him in the head with a chair, and we're on. In the ring, Dennis bites the cut. Amazing quadruple teaming with Morton over the bottom rope, with the racket over his neck, Ladd's leg on top of him, Eaton holding his legs out, and Dennis kicking him in the gut. Morton is a bloody mess, and Ladd raises Morton's head off the mat so it rubs against the bottom rope. Ladd delivers another double leg drop and bites the cut. GOOD GOD, another double leg-drop. And this is my one quibble with the match; Morton should be dead now and should not be getting up at all, because Ladd's leg drops are just plain devastating. Condrey does some more biting after Eaton tages in and distracts the ref Dennis does a nice job tripping up Morton as he tries to make a tag. More biting from Condrey. Morton finally gets a hot tag but the ref misses it, leading to more triple teams before all six wrestlers are in the ring. Fans start throwing stuff. Cornette runs in with spray (ether in a can?), but Morton gets it and sprays Eaton in the face for the pin. Cornette runs in with ether-soaked rag and downs Morton, then kicks at him. Eaton works over Gibson with raquest, ref goes down, Condrey chokes Morton's motionsless obdy. Cornette gets in some vicious raquest strikes on Gibson and Duggan while they are held. Finally help arrives, and the heels run off. Magnum TA attends to the faces amid popcorn and other debris. And I am exhausted, sweaty, and bloody. Or at least feel like it. This is an awesome match.

15. Dick Murdoch v.. Ted DiBiase NO DQ, 12/31/85-EricR

S.L.L. did a pretty great job talking about what made their 12/27/85 match great, and I had both of them in my top 10. I had this one higher (maybe even #2 overall?), but I would be pretty hard-pressed to tell you NOW why I had one higher than the other. This one just felt a little tighter, a little stiffer, it had Murdoch constantly working Dibiase's neck to set up for the brainbuster (that Ted nicely reversed out of at the end), it had blood, it had Joel Watts putting over the technical merits of both of them while one of them is biting the other's had fucking EVERYthing.

In one of the Flair/Taylor threads, someone stated something ridiculous like "This match is HATE personified". That made no sense to me, especially when there are matches like THIS on the set. Loosely applied neverending headlocks.......or guys punching each other in the face and fistdropping each others' noses? THIS is HATE.

BUT, as all three of the Flair/Taylor series popped up in this here top 30, I guess it's more contentious than I would've guessed.

But THIS. This is great brawling. I love how much they throw behind everything, hit or miss. All the punches hit hard, but the misses are just as hard. Watch Murdoch drive his elbow completely straight into the mat on a missed elbowdrop, watch Dibiase go knuckle first HARD on a missed fistdrop. But the hits! My God! Murdoch punting Dibiase in the throat, Murdoch kicking the shit out of Dibiase's head while Teddy was getting in the ring, Murdoch braining Ted with chairshots, Dibiase knocking the wind out of Dick with a nasty powerslam. This was constant intensity, not a dull moment. There are likely many moments I'm forgetting.

But moments don't make a match, and thankfully we had Murdoch guiding this one. I love Dibiase, but this match was the Capt. Redneck show. He takes a nasty stiff brawl, and adds neat stuff and uses everything in the arena to craft a match. He integrates weapons really nicely (dumping Ted on the ring barricade, blasting him with chairshots, slamming Ted into a table), and almost most impressively, does the best job of everybody on the set of incorporating Tommy Gilbert into the match.

Tommy Gilbert got a lot of criticism for his reffing on this set, as most felt he was too hands-on and it got in the way of some matches. Some of those complaints were valid. Here, I think it made the match better, and it was all because of how expertly Murdoch played off him. In the beginning Dick is kinda smug and almost laughs off Gilbert, understanding that he's the ref and just doing his job, even though it's No DQ...and every single altercation between the two of them gets slightly escalated, until Murdoch is just shoving Tommy out of the way to continue tearing Dibiase apart. Murdoch works spots so well with Tommy that it makes every other worker on the set look like a doofus for LETTING Tommy get in the way of their matches. Dick just rightfully makes him a part of the match, and by working off Tommy this way it builds even more sympathy for Dibiase when Murdoch is shoving past him to stomp Ted some more.

This match was great, and I'm glad it ranked as high as it did.

16. Terry Taylor vs. Ric Flair 6/1/85-Tomk

Flair’s a guy who gets criticized a lot these days for being a formula worker. And so it’s interesting to me that the Flair v Taylor match that placed the highest in the voting is the most formulaic of these. Lesson is formula works.

The Houston match has the neat arm work and the subtlest of Flair heel work, and probably the best of the Taylor selling. OKC match has the really full on heel asshole Flair and the most violent leg work. Taylor comes off really tough in that match and of the three Flair v Taylor matches, maybe the one Taylor contribute the most to. This on the other hand may be the one he contributes the least to. As this really is Flair working the Flair match against an opponent who often seems lost and blown up.

For most of Midsouth I've preferred brawling Taylor to technical Taylor. But that has been with Taylor taking huge bumps and brawling back from below against monsters like Kamala. Against Flair I way prefer technical Taylor as Taylor isn't as good brawling from above. This is the match which positions Taylor most as guy from above.

They work it similar to the Flair v Reed No DQ match I wrote about earlier: Taylor controlling with front chancery into brawling exchange into fatigued near fall exchange. Butch Reed had a really nasty tight headlock. Taylor on the other hand has a rather loose headlock. Loose enough that at times it looks like you could squeeze an extra two heads in there (did Sweetser turn in a Mid-south ballot?). And the Taylor as brawler section has some nice full swinging chops from Taylor but again Taylor as brawler just isn't as good as Reed as brawler.

And we move into the fatigued near fall section. In the Reed match this was all about make or miss stuff. Here its all about both guys being so tired they fall into opponents stuff with Taylor getting several backslide nearfalls. Taylor appears to be legit blown up and really Flair has to constantly adjust to put himself into leg scissors, backslide himself put himself into small package etc. Flair selling fatigued guy getting caught in stuff from shoot fatigued guy and making it work is impressive. My favorite spot in this section is where Taylor goes for a big chop into a headlock and Flair catches him with a side suplex. Taylor really has nothing in his chops at this point in the match and his lack of wind actually makes this spot even cooler. It’s almost a Pirata Morgan v Brazo De Oro Tercera Caida in slow motion sell.

Taylor also does his signature insane over the top rope “fuck did he hit the rail” bump. But pretty much this is Flair by the numbers O’Connor roll reversal into tights for the finish. If you’ve seen lots of Flair this is less interesting than some of the other matchups, but possible that Flair at his most formulaic is the most rewarding.

18. Magnum T.A. vs. Ted DiBiase 7/6/84-SLL

I think the biggest discovery of this set might have been Magnum TA. I think we knew Reed was good, we just didn't know how good. Duggan was a guy who had a reputation for Mid-South greatness, it's just that a lot of people hadn't seen it. DiBiase, Murdoch, Roberts, Gilbert, Slater, and the Guerreros were all guys who had strong reputations already that got bolstered further by this set. Flair, Gordy, Williams, the R'n'Rs, the Midnights, and the Fans had strong reputations that didn't really need any bolstering from this set, although they got it. And certainly, there were other guys like JYD, Olympia, Roop, Hayes, Tatum, and even Bill Watts himself who had a poor reputation or no reputation at all that came out of this looking much better than they had going in, but of that bunch, none shone as brightly as Magnum. Magnum goes into this set with a reputation as a guy who had a good look and nothing else. Hired by Mid-Atlantic on the basis of that, he gets pushed to the moon, gets booked mostly in squash matches to cover up his otherwise glaring weaknesses, lucks into a classic "I quit" cage match with Tully Blanchard, and then plows his Corvette under a truck, sparing us from his inevitable NWA World Title run.

That's what I was told, anyway. The reality that this set presents us with is quite different the the established Magnum story, however. I had this match at #7, making it the highest ranked Magnum match on my ballot. This is in spite of the fact that Magnum - who we're told needed to be booked in short squashes to keep from sucking - spends most of this 15-minute match selling a DiBiase beatdown. Yes, DiBiase delivers a great beatdown, slamming him on the concrete and working over his back for the first half of the match before getting pissed at a hope spot and posting him, and then just focusing on beating the shit out of him like you want Ted DiBiase to do in his matches. But the fact remains that dominant-squash-monster-by-necessity Magnum TA is not only capable of playing the underdog fighting from behind, he's actually better at it, to the point that you wonder not only why you would think he would need to avoid this role in Mid-Atlantic, but why anyone would even choose to have him avoid this role. His strength is obviously as a fired-up babyface who sells a beatdown, bleeds a whole bunch, but sticks it out until he can find his opening and make his comeback with some well-placed punches (better than DiBiase's, which is saying something) and regain control so he can hit the belly-to-belly. That's your classic wrestling babyface formula, and Magnum does it about as well as anyone.

This match probably stands out in a lot of people's minds because of one of the top turnbuckles falling off near the end. Both guys work well with it. DiBiase grabs it and tries to use it as a weapon, but Magnum snatches it away and bonks DiBiase on the head instead. Then Magnum ends up running the bottom two ropes like he was Rey Mysterio, presumably because it was part of the planned finish, but I'd prefer to think he just did it to show everyone he could.

21. Dick Murdoch vs. Dr. Death 6/13/87-SLL

This is a #1 Contender's match for Big Bubba Rogers' UWF Title. Williams is going into this match with a broken arm, and if he strikes Murdoch with the cast, he will be disqualified.

Watching this set, it certainly becomes apparent how much of Paul Heyman's methods were jacked from Watts, and how much better Watts did them than Heyman. One of the newer additions to the big book of wrestling accomplishments that Heyman can allegedly take credit for is discovering that wrestlers can be treated as disposable commodities. Putting aside the question of whether or not Heyman really took this approach any more or less than any other American wrestling promoter ever, it does become apparent that after a couple of years, he was struggling to find and market wrestlers that were as interesting and entertaining the the ones he had previously disposed of. Contrast 1987 UWF. With less than a year of life left in it, and with JYD, Reed, Duggan, DiBiase, and a whole host of other former stars long gone, they could still have a great show with Steve Williams slotted as the top babyface, opposed by a returning Dick Murdoch and a surging Eddie Gilbert, and The Freebirds, Chris Adams, The Lightning Express, a rising Sting, and Terry Taylor in the one and perhaps only time in his career that he was actually kinda useful elsewhere on the card. This match is a great example of what Watts' promotion could still do even this close to the end.

Match is built around Murdoch going after Williams' injured arm and Williams trying to give Murdoch a taste of his own medicine by going after his arm. The work is based on Murdoch trying to push his obvious advantage as far as he can until Williams has no way to come back from it. The first half is all tactical escalation. Murdoch tries to strike Williams' arm, but Williams avoids, Murdoch stooges humorously, and Williams counter-attacks. Murdoch gains the advantage and starts stomping on the arm, but Williams comes back and wraps Murdoch's arm around the post, etc., etc. Turning point comes when Murdoch exploits the other big advantage he has over Williams - Eddie Gilbert in his corner - allowing him to hit Williams in the arm with a mic stand and the biggest honking ringbell I've ever seen. The only things Williams has to counter that are his superhuman willpower and a cast he's not allowed to use as a weapon, so it becomes a question of whether or not he can tough it out long enough for Murdoch to get worn out or to get an opportunity to hit him with the cast, the latter of which he ends up getting. This is one of those matches where you get to see that Dick Murdoch was really one of those wrestlers who seemed to be great at everything. Guy you often think of primarily as a badass, but also a great stooge in the first half of this match, and a great sneaky, veteran heel in the second half. Similarly, Doc is a guy you always think of as a straightforward asskicker, but he plays clever, skilled babyface really well in the first half of this match and gutsy underdog in the second, showing a bit more range than you usually think of him having. The result is a great match that serves as a fine look at what probably would have been the big UWF feud of '87 if they hadn't have gone under.

23. Magnum T.A. vs. Ted DiBiase (No DQ) OKC 5/27/84-SLL

This is the match where it becomes obvious that....

A. The whole "If Ted DiBiase was so great, why doesn't he have any great matches?" talking point was bullshit.
B. The conventional wisdom that Magnum TA was a muscular stiff who couldn't actually do anything in the ring was bullshit.

This and the rematch from the same day in Tulsa are wild brawls fought at a blistering pace. These two guys just blast each other with punches (and yes, I'll say it again, Magnum TA threw better punches than Ted freakin' DiBiase), toss each other about outside the ring, and otherwise punish each other in spectacular fashion. Magnum hits a hell of a gusher, which just gives Ted even more incentive to punch him in the dome, only occasionally taking time out to mock him or load up the dreaded black glove, before Magnum comes back with a dropkick that sends Ted careening over the top rope, and then manages to score the belly-to-belly to finish him off. Functionally the same as the Tulsa match but marred somewhat by the intrusive Jim Ross commentary that cuts out the crowd noise, this was still a crazy fight from beginning to end, and more than worthy of it's spot on the list.

24. Ric Flair vs. Butch Reed 8/10/85-Tomk


I really don’t get this match doing as poorly as it did.

I think this was my highest ranked Flair match.

Your standard rube criticism of Flair is that he made all his opponents work the same match and everyone was forced to do powerslams even if that wasn’t part of their normal offense. Butch Reed is a guy with a great powerslam who builds his matches around powerslams and flying tackle spots. Reed really is the ideal power wrestler-brawler opponent for Flair. At the end of watching this set, I was left thinking that it was a real shame that Reed wasn’t able to tour this match outside of Mid-South. I wish Reed had gotten the opportunities that Luger got. Reed’s a guy with great looking dominant power offense. Guy with a really really nasty grinding headlock, neat powerslam variations, and bad ass shoulder tackles. He’s also a guy who sells a ton and is a bump freak. He’s an ideal opponent for Flair.

The formula for a long Flair match involves Flair getting dominated for most of the match. Normally you leave the match with the kayfabe message of Flair is weaker but wily, smartly willing to cheat to eak out a win (or at least to hold onto the belt). You walk away from this match going “Holy shit Flair is a tough motherfucker”.

I love the Flair trying to escape the tight headlock with a suplex spot. Instead of using suplex as something to throw out in front or end of match, Flair will sometimes use a suplex as an escape or transition (ie. opponent running at him and he catches with a desperation suplex). Rarely do you see that against a power wrestler like Reed, but he does it in a couple of the Reed matches and it makes it look even more bad ass. It’s a no DQ match so Flair can’t hold onto through DQ (throwing opponent over top rope, getting self thrown over top rope, posting etc). So you have both guys getting hurled over the top rope to floor multiple times and the match continuing.

Long Flair matches are stories of Flair surviving. Normally they are stories of Flair surviving by his smarts. This was one where he survived by sheer toughness.

26. The Fabulous Ones vs. Chavo & Hector Guerrero (Mexican Death Match) 1/24/86-Lee Benaka

This match is a clinic in spite and disdain by the Fabulous Ones. One of the revelations of the Watts set to me was the effectiveness of the Fabs as heels. Looking back on this match, one could argue that the Fabs didn’t even care about trying to win, they just wanted to seriously injure someone. Expectations are seriously raised here that this feud between the Guerreros and the Fabs would be settled once and for all. I mean, it’s a MEXICAN Death Match. The ref has to stay outside the ring, except to count falls. No DQ. This should indeed be a “feud-settler,” to quote one of the announcers. But it just raises this feud up to another hateful level in the end. So here’s 10 ways to be a great heel in wrestling:
1. Flip off the crowd and your opponents a few times.
2. Mockingly dance to your opponents’ entrance music, and then hold your nose as they approach the ring.
3. Grab the mic from the safety of the ring floor and shout, “I never heard of this kind of stupid Mexican match…you make all the Mexican rules you want, we’re gonna kick your butts.”
4. Gesture to your opponent and the crowd to kiss your butt.
5. Repeatedly bite your opponent’s head, and then repeatedly headbutt the cut on your opponent’s head.
6. During the 30-second rest period after you’ve pinned your opponent, instead of letting him rest, kick him in the head a few times.
7. Run your opponent’s head into a chair.
8. After you pin your opponent, lounge around on the mat next to your opponent and do goofy leg stretches.
9. Grab the mic and taunt your opponents as your partner beats one of them down.
10. Grab your opponent’s legs as he lays prone on the mat while your partner hits him about 20 times in the chest with a chair, and drives the chair into this throat several times.
Bonus heel technique: Just leave the ring after beating your bloody opponent repeatedly with a chair, and don’t return to the ring after you are counted out. Obviously, I’m glad this match squeaked into the top 30.

27. Ric Flair vs. Terry Taylor 5/3/85-SLL

Phil promised to send me The Necro Butcher vs. 2 Cold Scorpio if I reviewed this for him, so I couldn't really say no. Besides, I think I hated these matches the least of everyone who is actually reviewing them, so I'm probably their best bet in that regard. I think what it comes down to is that while the Flair/Taylor matches are largely your by-the-numbers Flair vs. Broomstick matches, that's still something I find really entertaining. Yes, I'd rather watch the matches Flair had on this set against Reed or Wahoo or Jake Roberts or DiBiase or even the more fired up Taylor of their 6/1/85 match, but Ric doing his thing against someone who is neither going to hold him back nor be held back by the formula is probably going to be a fun watch for me. So is the case here, and Flair even spices things up a little by going after Taylor's arm after spending every other day of the year attacking his opponents' legs. Taylor, for his part, throws some good punches, gets over with the crowd, and otherwise doesn't fuck anything up. Does that merit a top 30 spot for this match? Probably not, no. But Flair's formula exists because it works, and I think this match bears that out.

28. Dick Slater vs. Jake Roberts (No DQ, Dark Journey In A Cage) 2/28/86-PHIL

For a guy who is primarily known as a heel, and who looks like a serial rapist, Jake Roberts is such an awesome babyface. The timing of everything he does is great, First part of match is Jake working the arm and constantly pointing to Dark Journey in the cage, like bitch you are next. Slater takes over by posting Jake and wrapping his arm in the ropes and smacking it with a chair. Jake takes a pounding, but times his comebacks perfectly smacking Slater with a boot. Jake goes down kind of easily though as Slater pops him with a top rope elbow, which is weird, as you rarely see a heel win clean in a grudge match like this. The abrupt ending hurts this a bit, great match but I think I liked the match Jake won the belt in better.

29. The Fantastics vs. Chavo & Hector Guerrero 10/12/84-SLL

A lot of people seemed to come out of this set with a lower opinions of the Fantastics and a higher opinion of the Guerreros. My feelings on the tag teams on this set have already been documented elsewhere. I came out of this liking both teams just fine. Didn't like either as much as the Rock 'N' Roll Express, the Midnight Express, DiBiase and Williams, or Roberts and Barbarian, but that's hardly a knock. These were two great teams, and this was your classic tag match wrestled to near perfection. The early brawling before the ref steps in and manages to get some small semblance of order is great. From there you have your basic faces dominate the heels/heels isolate a face/face gets the tag and comeback formula, and they know how to do it well. This is your classic tag formula, but it's wrestled at a sprint pace. High energy and high-end offense circa 1984 abounds, and the finish, with Chavo hitting the tope de Cristo on Fulton's kidneys, was the perfect capper to it all. Bill Watts on commentary saying that the move "could even fell Andre the Giant", really got across the danger of the move, and by proxy, the danger of the match. I'm a guy who often complains about "M0VES~!" marks, but I'm not really anti-offense. I just think there's a right and wrong way to use it. This match shows you how it's done.

Read more!

SLL's All-Request Early Saturday Morning

Yeah, I didn't expect I would end up having things to do today, either. Sorry for the less than timely debut of SLL's All-Request Friday Night, wherein I review five matches as requested by YOU, the Segunda Caida reader. Next week's actually be up Friday night. Honest injun. If it's any consolation, at least this is only the second shittiest thing to happen in wrestling today. Now, onto the requests!

Kendall Windham & The Itallion Stallion vs. The Mod Squad (JCP, Summer 1987)
Requested by Victator

On the surface, this seems like an odd match to request, but when you dig a little's still an odd match to request. Kendall is a guy I've liked more often than not, but still, this is a match with four guys who are pretty low on the pecking order in '87 Crockett. Then again, I've seen enough WWE Superstars to know that guys in that position can break out some great stuff when given the chance, and I went into this figuring I might see something like that. And well, I think I saw where it was supposed to happen, I'm just not convinced it actually did. This is a ten-minute time limit draw, and the idea as put forward on commentary by Tony Schiavone (who actually does a pretty solid job trying to get the match over...this match would've been great as a radio broadcast) is that these are four young guys who want to make a name for themselves, and the exposure they're getting on the Superstation means they'll be giving it their all to prove themselves to the fans and the top brass. But their all really isn't that much, and instead of coming off as guys ready to break through, they came off as guys who were still green or who had topped out at a low level. Match is laid out in a pretty traditional 80's US tag style: faces dominate the heels early, heels isolate one face and work him over, face fights back and gets the tag to the fresh man, house afire, breaking down in Center Stage. This isn't the worst version of that match I've ever seen. The Mod Squad are solid heel clubberers. Basher comes off of the apron and boots Stallion in the back after he had been thrown to the floor, which looked pretty cool, and I liked Spike's big overhand punches to Stallion's gut. They were fine in that part of the match. But it's hard not to think of the long list of teams that could've done it better. It's even harder not to think of the long list of teams that would've been more compelling than Windham and the Stallion, who were just deadly dull here. I mean, I don't mean to review the match I want to see instead of the match I am seeing, but formula's familiarity makes it hard not to think of all the times it's been done better. It's a great formula, but a formula doesn't do all the work for you. These guys didn't screw it up, but they definitely weren't afraid to coast on the formula, either.

Ricky Morton & Tommy Rich vs. The Midnight Express (NWA, 10/27/1990)
Requested by DylanWaco

Now this is how it's done. The Rock 'N' New Fabulous Ones high five each other at the top of the match, and then the MX and Cornette all high five each other, Stan Lane attempts (unsuccessfully) to high five referee Teddy Long, and then he and Bobby Eaton strut past each other to deliver a slick behind-the-back high five. The Midnight Express > you. Match proper starts with some basic exchanges between Eaton and Ricky Morton (who will wrestle practically the entire match for his team), before it starts breaking down when Eaton gets Morton in the corner and smacks him hard across the mouth. Irish whip into the opposite corner gets reversed, but Eaton tosses a mean back elbow when Morton charges in. Then we get a slick criss-cross sequence where Morton takes the upper hand and pulls out the circa 1990 hurricanrana, with Eaton tumbling into the face corner and taking a bionic elbow from Rich. The MX manage to control soon enough, though, and they are in full asskicker mode tonight. Lane gets a blind tag and catches Morton with essentially a really big snapmare off of a back body drop. This is also one of your better MX-era Lane performances, as signified by him following a superfluous springboard with the awesome clothesline takedown he did to George Takano nine years prior. Normally would complain about the superfluous springboard, but here, it felt like he was just doing it because he was an asshole, and it worked on that level. All of his redneck kung-fu stuff looked really good here as well. The MX double teaming is in full effect, including a drop toe hold followed by a nice Eaton elbow drop and a back body drop into what was basically a really big snapmare. But the real highlight here is Lane slamming Eaton on the entrance ramp, and then Eaton busting out the Rocket Launcher onto Morton on the ramp, which looked crazy as hell. Then Lane celebrates by cabbage patching in the ring. Seriously, he is like the dick of all dicks in this. It doesn't get the pin, though, so they wail on Morton some more, and Eaton hits the Alabama Jam, but asks the ref to count the knockout, which would probably look weird to some people, but the whole story of the match is that the MX are total jerks and that they are basically trying to kill Ricky Morton for the fun of it, so I can go along with that. But he makes it to his feet, and a whole lot of awesome punches get thrown before Morton blocks another Rocket Launcher with his knees and makes the rolling tag to Rich. He makes quick work of the Midnights, but Cornette and the racket come into play. It looks like it's curtains for or heroes, but then the Southern Boys hit the ring, both dressed as Jim Cornette, and Corny flips out, allowing Rich to grab the racket in the confusion and bop Stan Lane over the head with it for the win. I don't know where this ranks alongside the other classic R'n'Rs/MX encounters (and that is what this was, Rich was pretty much a non-entity here), but it was a great one, and not to be missed.

Mad Man Pondo vs. Super Ninja (UWF, 7/20/1991)
Requested by jaedmc

Damn, I did not realize how long Pondo has been at it. That's...that's a little sad, actually. Anyway, jaedmc requested this match because "not everything you watch should be good". Honestly, though, I didn't think this was a bad match. I mean, it wasn't good, and if nothing else, it's damn weird to see a professional wrestling match end with a guy shooting the half amateur-style and just keeping his opponent down for three. But Ninja - whoever he was - seemed pretty competent, and Pondo didn't really do anything outstandingly good or outstandingly bad. Aside from the finish, this match was unremarkable.

But who cares about the match when you have the commentary? We have Bruno Sammartino arbitrarily shitting on a Mad Man Pondo armdrag, a completely off his meds Captain Lou Albano, Vince Russo prototype Herb Abrams coming out to put himself over, and all three of them plus Craig DeGeorge struggling to call the nigh-unpronounceable name of "Pondo".

Tiger Jackson vs. Irish Leprechaun (WWC, 1980's)
Requested by Tim Evans

I woke up today to find that "Macho Man" Randy Savage, one of my personal favorite professional wrestlers of all time, was dead. Sadly, no one was on the ball enough to recommend a Savage match for me to review, but I can still honor his memory by reviewing a match featuring the Macho Midget himself, Tiger Jackson. It also features Irish Leprechaun (as opposed to Albanian Leprechaun?), who bears a more than striking resemblance to Hornswoggle, though I am told they are not the same person. I don't want to sound like a big racist or anything, but all these leprechauns look the same to me. Amusing comedy bit early on with Leprechaun trying to convince the ref that Jackson is pulling his beard, and Jackson eventually gets fed up and just does it. This is pretty lopsided in Jackson's favor, though Leprechaun gets to do a little bit of cool stuff on offense. Has a nasty headbutt, and he escapes a headscissors by standing up, pulling Jackson's legs off of him, and spinning him on his head like a top. But then Jackson gets the Leprechaun in a compromising position and...turns his feet around 180 degrees? And then the Leprechaun turns them back into place and scores the fluke win with a big splash! Eat that, Sid Vicious!

C.M. Punk vs. Chris Hero - 90 Minute Time Limit Best 2/3 Falls Match (IWA:M-S, 2/7/2003)
Requested by Wrestling_KO Mike

I've got a bit of multitasking to do as I write this, which means I probably shouldn't even be reviewing this match in the first place. But I've made dumber decisions than this and didn't back down from them, so this has no excuse. This match was pretty hyped back in the day because it's two indy darlings wrestling for 90 minutes. But it's also a match that's kinda been lost to time, and that few are interested in revisiting because...well, because it's two indy darlings wrestling for 90 minutes. Even at the time, I seem to recall the reception to this match being somewhat split. I, personally, liked it, but it's 2011, I'm kinda averse to indy darlings wrestling each other for 90 minutes, and it all begs the question, will I still like it? There's only one way to find out, and to make things easier on me, we're going to be doing this in five minute intervals, because passing judgment of all 90+ minutes of this in one go is just not going to happen, nor is me rewatching it immediately afterwords to make sure I got all the details right. Set the WABAC Machince for 2003, Sherman. We're going to Clarksville, Indiana....

C.M. Punk: "We might be here for a while."

Punk always carried himself like a star. We probably shouldn't be surprised that he became one. The opening minutes of the match see them take it to the mat, and the matwork is fine. I can't really complain about anything here so far. What I can say is that in 2003, I couldn't push a button and make a bajillion Negro Navarro matches instantly appear on my computer. If you were looking for quality matwork, your options were a little more limited then than they are now. If you were looking for quality matwork stateside, forget it. You had to wait three more years for Finlay to come out of retirement, or for the occasional Benoit/Regal match on Velocity. So this aspect of the match, while not bad by any stretch, probably isn't as big of a deal today as it was then.

Five minutes gone....

Next five minutes are pretty much the same story as the first. Can't complain, but can't say I'm blown away, either. But near the ten-minute mark, Hero had Punk in a seated hammerlock, and Punk turned his head back and nailed Hero with a short headbutt. Hero threw a nice one of his own in return, and now things are really starting to get interesting.

Ten minutes gone....

More headbutts from the hammerlock. Hero throws a hard chop, too. And then the pace starts to pick up a bit, as we get a few quick armdrag exchanges before Punk locks down Hero's arm. He does the move where he bars Hero's arm and then lifts him up vertically, which is pretty impressive looking on a guy as indy big as Hero.

Fifteen minutes gone....

If you're wondering how we could get fifteen minutes deep into this match when so little seems to be happening without me getting bored, I honestly don't have a definite answer. I think it might just be that they're milking everything they do for all it's worth. Whatever it is, it's surprisingly effective. This is the best five minutes of the match yet, as things go all Benoit/Regal with them still exchanging holds but also laying in some heinous chops and slaps and punches and headbutts while in the holds, including the requisite headbutt exchange while in a knucklelock. This is a blast. The minutes are just flying by.

Twenty minutes gone....

And we're back to simple, straightforward hold exchanges. Again, not bad, but after they kicked it into high gear the last five minutes, a little disappointing to see them dial it back in these. There is one really nice armdrag by Hero in this part, though.

Twenty-five minutes gone....

At least the hold exchanges are good. Hero works over Punk's arm really well, and then Punk turns it around with a rolling toehold. Hero escapes by almost Irish Leprechauning Punk's foot and turning it into an ankle lock.

Thirty-five minutes gone....

Yeah, I don't know where the other five minutes went, either, especially since the five minute intervals are being called out by Jim Fannin, and these last "five" didn't feel any longer than the five before it. The match takes another turn for the chippy here, as Hero attempts a German suplex, but Punk lands on his feet and stomps Hero's jaw in. That young Knockout Kid throws his first forearms of the night, as both guys start dropping bombs on one another.

Forty minutes gone....

Hero does a straightjacket choke cavernaria while biting Punk's nose.

Forty-five minutes gone....

Punk starts unloading on Hero. His urakens leave something to be desired, but otherwise it's pretty good. Then Hero comes back and uncorks the somewhat tubby man tornillo plancha, which ruled it.

Fifty minutes gone....

Fifty-three minutes in, and Punk finally scores the first fall of the match, and this is one of the more contentious parts of it. Punk goes for a shining wizard that was presumably supposed to take the fall, but overshoots it somewhat, and instead spins around and hits another kneelift to get the pin. On rewatch, the overshot isn't as bad as I remember. He doesn't hit it full on, but he gets enough of it that I don't think it really hurts the match that much. He fits two more full-on later in the match, they honestly don't look that much more devastating than the one he just grazed Hero with. What does hurt is that at this point in this match, this doesn't feel like something that merits a fall.

Fifty-five minutes gone....

It's around that both guys start to look a bit worn, and it's weird, because other than the simple fact that they've been wrestling a really damn long time, it doesn't feel like they've done a whole lot to each other. The entire first hour of this match is worked at a pretty even tempo. It has some highs and some lows, but it hasn't really built to anything. It made the first fall seem out of place, and it makes the current sense of desperation from both men seem somewhat unearned.

One hour gone....

Now they're earning it, as Hero takes over and gets some big nearfalls, including one off of the Hero's Welcome that had me briefly wondering if that was what tied up the match. Past the hour mark, they are developing a sense that Hero needs to score a fall soon, or he's going to fall too far behind Punk to overtake him.

Sixty-five minutes gone....

Punk breaks out the flying headscissors on the floor and an elbow suicida that lands him in the third row, but Hero comes back during a fight on the top rope and hits the Pepsi Plunge on Punk to take the second fall, and that genuinely did feel like a big moment, and a major dramatic turning point for the match.

Seventy minutes gone....

The finishing stretch begins in earnest, and what's interesting is that both guys are totally wiped out to the point that you buy the idea that any move could potentially win the match, even though you know without even looking at the results that this thing is going the full 90 minutes.

Seventy-five minutes gone....

I don't have anything really specific to say about this five minute block, so I guess this is as good a place to put this comment as any: this is a great match, but aside from the fact that the Punk/Hero feud was built around them having really long matches with each other, there is absolutely no reason the match needs to be this long. Not gonna knock the match for going this long, because this is the match I'm watching, and I'm reviewing the match I'm watching, not the one I want to watch. But 90 minutes is a long fucking time to spend watching a wrestling match, and there's nothing in this match that these guys couldn't have done in 30.

Eighty minutes gone....

Punk tenaciously works the sleeperhold, which seems like a really good idea in a match like this. Hero sells it really well, and then pays him back with a pair of backdrops and a snap Regalplex that knocked Punk even loopier than he already was.

Eighty-five minutes gone....

I've never run a marathon before, but I imagine that the end of one is kinda like the end of this match. It doesn't really matter what they're doing (though, for what it's worth, what they're doing is pretty good), it's just really cool and borderline miraculous that they even got to this point. And to a large extent, that was really the big appeal of this match - they could've done this in 30 or less and not lost anything, but they chose to do it in 90 just because they could, and that is pretty awesome. Hero hits a superbomb and crawls over to make the cover, draping one arm over Punk, but Punk does the same, and the ref counts the double pin as the time limit expires. But Ian Rotten comes out from the back and, in a rare moment of brevity, says fuck that shit and the match gets restarted.

Sudden death....

Both guys pull themselves to their feet, lay in some hard shots, and then Hero outmaneuvers Punk to lock in the Hangman's Clutch to finally put him away, and it feels like every bit as big of an accomplishment as they treat it as. I have seen many better matches than this, but it is still a great match, even with it's flaws, and on a meta level, what these guys pulled off here was unbelievable. I don't need to see anyone try to recreate it any time soon, but I'm glad it exists, and I'm glad that I've seen it.

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