Segunda Caida

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

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

1978 Match of the Year

Wahoo McDaniel v. Harley Race NWA Houston 2/10/78

PAS: The hidden gems unearthed from NWA Classics just keep coming. One of the coolest things about the service is that they are unearthing dream matches you never dreamed. I guess I assumed Harley Race must have defended the NWA title agains Wahoo, but that was never a match I specifically yearned to see, and bam it gets dropped on a random Wednesday. I am a bit of a Harley skeptic, but he was really great here. This was really a match of ring placement, if they were in the middle of the ring Wahoo rocked Race with big shots, he had the reach advantage and Harley couldn't hang with him. If Harley could get him to the ropes he had enough tricks to get the advantage. He would do these awesome short headbutts to both the face and the gut. When he got the advantage he landed big knees to Wahoo's gut and McDaniel sold like he ate too much BBQ. Match breaks down to a nasty slugfest with Race dripping blood out of his eye. Great nasty fist fight between two tough bastards.

ER: This is one of those "two toughest vets at the bar finally coming to blows" matches, and it's one of my favorite Race performances. Wahoo is kind of like Meng for me, in that you know he's a stone cold badass, but it doesn't always translate to interesting matches. Wahoo doesn't have the agility of some of the other violent brawlers, and he also tends to lay around a bit or ignore strikes in lieu of selling strikes. And he does that here, but I really like the way Race plays off of him, and I like the pace they work this. Both guys predictably club the hell out of each other, Harley kept jabbing at him with his big curly head, dropping knees on Wahoo's stomach, and Wahoo would land his weird elbow drops to the forehead (an elbow drop delivered almost exactly like a Dibiase fist drop), Race falls on his head getting into the ring, just tons of cool stuff. Race was a master at working a couple of near falls in this, really great at riling up the crowd by barely getting his feet on the bottom rope. In fact, he riles them up so much that by the 3rd fall one fan gets rushed and dragged out by three cops. And I get it. The third fall gets too good, with a round-the-ring brawl that sees Race take two of the best ringpost bumps this side of Lawler, the second of which busts him open and we get a fun unexpected pinfall reversal finish as Race narrowly escapes.


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