My Favorite Wrestling! WCW Pro 8/10/96
1. Kurasawa vs. Jim Duggan
These vacationing Florida fans were going hog wild for Hacksaw (you see this show was the show right before WCW's Hog Wild PPV so what I did there was a little play on words). There was one woman in the crowd who was waving her hat around during his entrance who very clearly said, "Wave that flag, Hacksaw! Wave that flag!" I...kinda like the match for the first minute or so. Kurasawa muscles Hacksaw into the corner and laces into him, and that's kinda how it goes until Duggan decides it's over, reaches into the trunks for some tape, wraps his fist and wins with the taped fist punch. Dusty's gigantic red leather blazer looks like something out of Suze Orman's nightmares.
2. Eddie Guerrero vs. (not THEE) Manny Fernandez
Manny is kind of your 1996 jobber doofus, who always breaks out new offense in every match, but none of it is done very well so it just comes off hilariously inept. Here he busts out a northern lights suplex and a goofy double leg drop (springing off the bottom rope but still holding onto the top rope when he lands. Durp.). He's not good, he's not really awful, he's just not...THEE Manny Fernandez. Eddie slaps fives on the way to the ring and two white girls noticeably shrug away from him in horror. Eddie doesn't get much here before the finish but does throw some amazing corner punches which are some of the absolute hardest punches to make look good. Here he snaps them off right into Manny's neck. Froggy splash looks pretty and Dusty always squeals with glee when he gets to say "froggy".
3. Squire Dave Taylor vs. The Gambler
Holy lord this is like a WCW B-Sides dream match for me. There's no way it can live up to the hype I've already created for it in my brain's fantasy booking chamber. And it doesn't, although it's just about the most fun 2 minutes you could hope for. Gambler starts off with a hip toss and then a running back elbow, which Taylor takes a massive bump over the top to the floor for. Gambler chases him, and from there to the end Taylor beats the shit out of him. 5 nasty European uppercuts, a great yakuza kick to the side of Gambler's head, and finishes with Taylor's unreal fallaway slam which is arguably a top 5 finisher of this period, maybe ever. He holds guys up like he's gonna hit a simple bodyslam, and then just flips back into a float over/overhead suplex. Looks totally nasty and must take freakish strength to pull off. It's like a Spanish Fly variation on the fallaway slam. Taylor is so awesome.
4. Dean Malenko vs. Rey Misterio Jr.
This gets a full 11 minutes and starts off completely awesome, with Malenko keeping Rey in place with some nasty elbows in the corner (don't actually remember Malenko working this stiff), taking him down with a GREAT single leg and wrenching him around with a knucklelock. By the time he ran through Rey with a stiff clothesline (with Rey bumping lightning fast onto the back of his head), I was hooked. This didn't look like two guys remembering sequences, it looked like a competitive fight. What made that single leg so great is that it actually looked like Rey didn't want to go down, and Dean was actually taking him down. There was none of that far-off look certain wrestlers get where it looks like they're just thinking about the next spot, it looked like two guys making things look believable to fanny-pack sporting tourists (the only venue in all of wrestling where the fans wearing fanny packs outnumber the wrestlers wearing them).
And then around the 3 1/2 minute mark it just gets...not good. Rey appears to hurt his knee, so Malenko begins to work over every other body part except for Rey's knee, and it comes off really odd. Malenko locks on a Fujiwara armbar, Rey holds his knee. Dean hits a brainbuster (sick brainbuster, for the record), and Rey comes up holding his knee. At this point we go into some very long body scissor portions with Dean wrenching Rey's neck...which Rey comes out of holding his knee. But Rey's knee selling comes off far too campy for me to believe it, as he strongly limps around as if he's wearing only one platform shoe. He still hits high dropkicks and hits a springboard dropkick and beautiful springboard rana flawlessly, and also lands off the top rope onto his feet without his leg buckling at all.
So...if Rey was working an injury for 9 minutes of this match...why didn't Dean attack the leg at any point? It's very surreal to see a guy get his neck cranked on and then not act like his neck is hurt in the slightest but instead act like he can barely walk...until the moment of the match where he gets all his offense in and is suddenly fine again. I've seen countless matches where selling is ignored when a guy has to get his stuff in, and whatever. But I don't think I've ever seen a match where a guy sells a different body part from the ones being worked over, and then ignore his own fake injury.
Finish is a real dud here too as it was supposed to be Rey rolling through a samoan drop and getting the roll-up win, but instead Dean fucking PLANTS him with a samoan drop...and then Rey just rolls him over for the pin. In theory I assume it was supposed to look like Austin Aries' old samoan drop slam, but it just looked like Rey took a move, no sold it and instantly got the pin. Blech.