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Sunday, January 27, 2013

My Favorite Wrestling! WCW Saturday Night 2/13/99

Saturday Night 2/13/99

1. Bobby Blaze vs. Jerry Flynn

This was pretty awesome right here. Both guys threw big suplexes and big chops and this was a pretty great strike-based sprint. Flynn matches are always dependent on how much of a beating his opponents are willing to take, and Blaze is a pudgy guy who will take some kicks, throw some neat suplexes, and that all happens here. Flynn looked like a beast here and I especially loved his spinning kick in the corner. Blaze was a man and took is right on the chin. Loved how Flynn had a habit of just finishing guys with a tight armbar after throwing a suplex.

2. Johnny Swinger vs. Vincent

a 30 second Vince squash!? Swinger couldn't have felt great about himself after taking a 30 second loss to Vincent. That being said, Vincent has been a WCW B-Sides MVP contender on rewatch. I have no clue where he got good, but his late 90s WCW stuff has been killer. Here he uses a really cool single arm DDT into an Americana to get the quick tap.

3. Dave Burkhead vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.

I may be the biggest Dave Burkhead fan online . I'm pretty sure he was never involved in any classics, and he didn't have a great look, but he did a lot of small things better than most guys. Here he really made me appreciate taking a drop toe hold as he seems genuinely surprised by it and just does a hard face plant. At first I thought Burkhead was just a lumpy jobber, but now that I've had the privilege of seeing more Burkhead matches than most human beings, I can officially be called a Dave Burkhead fan. Dude was rock solid and always threw cool stuff into his jobber matches. He's like the Barry Houston of the late 90s. I showed this match to my incredulous friends who thought I was lying to them about how awesome Burkhead was, and they were all way down with Burkhead by the end of the match. Dude knew how to put over offense (he took a German suplex and tornado DDT right on the dome).

4. Scotty Riggs vs. Kaz Hayashi

Man Kaz Hayashi is fucking awesome. I remember digging him in 1999, but this guy is looking top 20 in the world from everything I've re-watched so far. Everything he does looks gorgeous and it's so accurate. He does that gorgeous tumbling moonsault from the top rope into the ring, and also over the top to the floor and it looks super graceful. Guys also give Kaz tons of offense in his matches even though he almost always ends up losing. Kaz takes like 70% of this match and it's awesome. Finish was Kaz leaning way into the 5-arm and holy shit Kaz Hayashi was like top 5 in WCW at this point.

5. Lodi vs. Kidman

I...truthfully didn't have much opinion on Lodi before watching this match. I don't remember seeing him wrestle much before the whole Lenny/Lodi thing, and even then I don't remember if he was good, bad, horrendous, awesome, whatever, who knows. But he seemed pretty damn good here. He took a monster bump into the guardrail and threw a really great knee lift (which is a move that a lot of guys do terribly). There was a GREAT spot where Lodi was trying to load one of his gloves in the corner, dropped it, and when he bent down to pick it up Kidman ran up and caught him in his springboard bulldog move. It was one of the greatest examples I've ever seen of "guy occupying himself while other guy sets up convoluted offense". How many times do people just bend at the waist waiting to take a move (looking at YOU Booker T axe kick), and Lodi of all people makes taking a move look entirely logical and makes Kidman look WAY better in the process. Finlay is the best at logically getting into position for opponents' signature offense, but now I'm genuinely looking forward to more Lodi!

6. The Cat vs. Booker T

Booker has aged horribly on this rewatch. I remember really liking him and now I'm starting to think the time I actually really liked Booker was like 3 months at the very beginning of 1998. I remember loving the Martel and Saturn matches from Superbrawl and some of the Benoit series, and now I'm realizing that might be it as far as WCW Booker. Harlem Heat has been dreadful. It's all sorts of sloppy kicks and posing. Cat looks pretty clueless here as well. It's not as bad as it could have been and has some pretty inspired moments (Cat got leveled on a nice short arm lariat) but then it ends in a DQ and it's like Whhhhhhhhhy!?

7. Horace vs. Chris Benoit

So as well as being the biggest Dave Burkhead fan, I'm pretty sure I may be the biggest Horace fan as well. I really dig Horace and this was a pretty good late 90s WCW dream match for me. Horace has some nice stuff in this including a great yakuza kick, a big tope (to one of the guardrail sides of the ring, not even into the entrance ramp side!!), takes all of Benoit's suplexes really well for such a large guy (reacts great to the snap suplex as well, shaking his finger at Benoit afterwards). Matches ends with Vincent running in to break things up, and then Mongo runs out and get this - doesn't look very good.

8. Juventud Guerrera vs. Rey Misterio Jr.

Classic late 90s cruiser action, and you really have to be a hardened asshole to hate on this kinda stuff. A lot of nerds nowadays will complain about "he should have sold _____ longer" and blah blah blah but whatever, this was two of the all time great cruiserweights doing tons of cool moves and reversals at a blindingly fast pace and it ruled. Cool flips and a rad Juvi springboard spinning heel kick and rad reversals and pre-shitty Rey tattoos and pre-weird Juvi stories about selling birdseed and gym bag-shitting and whatever. My girlfriend and I loved every second of this and it really brought me back to the days where I wouldn't give a shit about heavyweights and bought all my wrestling tapes based on all the rad cruiser matches on it. 90 stars.

9. Brian Adams/Vince vs. Dean Malenko/Chris Benoit

This was supposed to be Brian Adams vs. Dean Malenko, which sounds kinda shitty on paper. But it was changed pre-match to the tag you see above, which to me sounds completely AWESOME on paper and explains the earlier, shorter Vince match. Seriously, late 90s WCW Vincent is a revelation, just the perfect syndicated TV worker. Really knew how to cater his style to whatever guy he was working and he really may be the great lost late 90s superworker. His work against Malenko here was great, flying into his silly leaping flipping calf kick and once he goes on offense really begins the story of the match (working over Dean's back and building to the Benoit hot tag). He has all sorts of cool forearms and clubbing blows and an amazing elbow drop to Dean's back, with Adams then working it over with a nice tilt-a-whirl slam and just stretches Dean over his knee. Yeah it all gets no sold by the end of the match but the work by nWo was strong and you can't expect much more from a 6 minute Saturday Night tag that ends in a run-in. Personally, I thought Adams and Vince smoked the vanilla midgets in this match.


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