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Saturday, December 03, 2016

All Time MOTY List HEAD to HEAD: Necro v. Klein V. Eddie v. Brock

Eddie Guerrero v. Brock Lesnar WWE 2/15/04

PAS: So great to watch Eddie again, what an electric performer, a guy who was so masterful at conveying emotion. It was also cool to revisit young Brock Lesnar, he has slowed down quite a bit, but 10 years ago he was such an impressive athlete, he had the kind of explosiveness I am not sure ever had a peer in pro-wrestling, watching him leap for a big knee or a shoot for a suplex is more like watching Russell Westbrook drive to the hole, or Von Miller shed a blocker then any other wrestler I can remember. Real cool story in this match, with Eddie trying to survive and just hoping Brock makes a mistake. When Brock takes this huge bump over the top rope on a flying knee attempts, Eddie bullseyes Brocks hurt knee with a bunch of nifty mat counter attacks and low dropkicks. This did go a bit long, and there were a couple of different moments where Brock had to slap on a sleeper to catch his breath, there was also a couple of strikes from Brock which looked more Big Slam Vader then Big Van Vader, still those are minor complaints.

The Goldberg run in, which is the glaring flaw in this match didn't bother me as much on rewatch he basically spears Brock to stop him from cheating, and it doesn't lead directly to the finish. We could have done with out it, but the actually finish, with Eddie reversing an F5 into a DDT on the belt, before hitting the frog splash was a really perfect moment.

ER: I've mentioned before that I was at this show live and this match still ranks as one of my all time favorite live wrestling experiences. You couldn't have asked for a crowd that wanted to see Eddie win more. Brock and Eddie were literally my two favorite wrestlers in the world when this match took place, so this was my dream match of that moment and I couldn't have been happier. And it was awesome. I got pretty much the exact match I wanted. Brock is an absurd athlete, and going back and seeing mid 20s Lesnar is like when you go back and see 80s or even 90s Negro Casas, a guy you've gotten so used to being good and athletic, that you see them at their physical peak and it's astonishing. Lesnar is in his own category, a guy that big, moving that fast. But beyond his size/speed Brock was an incredible bumper and excellent seller (his selling is still excellent and he's still more than capable of his nutty bumps). Brock starts out just steamrolling Eddie with Eddie having to scrounge for openings. Brock muscles him around with massive suplexes that everyone hates now, blasting him with lariats, even crunching up his body and Eddie wisely tries for dropkicks to the knee when he can. Early on Brock hits a killer high knee in the corner, and the crazy Jerry bump that it sets up is one of my favorite bumps in a match ever. There have been other big bumps, but the way they made that one fit into this match was really special. We've all seen big bumps for the sake of big bumps, and I like big bumps. Even non-sensical ones. But to have a gigantic bump like this worked so importantly into the match is special. Especially in this match. It gave Eddie the opening he needed as it tweaked Brock's knee. Continuing the match at the pace they had been working would have been unsustainable, and an Eddie comeback before this would have only come off as a comeback "because we needed a comeback". So Eddie works over the knee and there are a bunch of nice moments around that, and eventually we get the big Goldberg return. I actually liked the Goldberg return as the nearfall was outstanding, both live and on tape. Live I remember thinking that once Brock kicked out of that, Eddie had no chance. I thought that nearfall was going to be his big moment. But then we got that DDT reversal and one of the most pretty/painful frog splashes you've seen, and then one of the greatest moments of my pro wrestling fandom. Eddie winning the belt was sheer joy, and really unlikely even one year prior.

Now, the match itself dragged more than I had remembered. The Brock sleepers were really out of place and didn't make sense in the order of things, and were blatant rest moments. You can tell because the normal flow of the match would continue right afterwards, so you were in real time seeing someone just go "hey can we hold still for a bit?" And while I actually enjoyed the Goldberg run-in and how it played into the match, what I disliked was the stuff that happened earlier with Goldberg/Lesnar. Earlier in the show you had a Brock and Goldberg confrontation that ended with Lesnar laid out by a jackhammer and then scared off by Bob Holly while Goldberg got handcuffed out of there. It telegraphed Goldberg's return later and made Eddie seem like an afterthought. And to top it off, it never got acknowledged later that Lesnar ate a jackhammer. He wasn't selling hurt, so why did it even need to happen? Just a sloppily thought out confrontation.


PAS: I really liked Necro v. Klein but I think this match takes the belt. It was the climax of the movie of Eddie's career, returning from getting fired, making his way to the main event and beating the unbeatable monster. Opening match of a dirtbag indy death match tourney can't live up to the scope of this. The actual work in this match is comparable, the Goldberg run in, bothers me less then the circus geek show weapons shots bothered me in the IWA-MS match. Close, but I am going with Eddie v. Brock

ER: This is really like the electoral college versus the popular vote right here. Because I'm going with Necro/Klein. Almost all of these head to heads are going to be tough comparisons. We're going to get totally different match styles with totally different match goals. Here we have an opening round death match against an all time fan favorite's ultimate career coda. The Eddie moment was impossibly huge. But as a match I think Necro/Klein is better. I do not think this will be a popular opinion, and it wasn't an easy decision for me. The Eddie match aged in ways I hadn't remembered and really dragged in ways I didn't think the Necro match did (while openly acknowledging that many think the Necro match drags). The big moment of the Eddie match was impossible to beat, but I found myself really waiting around for the moment, whereas I thought the Necro match had a solid burn the whole way through. Now here's where the popular/electoral comparison comes in: Phil and I agreed to do this as a simple "Win/Lose" challenge. Both of us have to agree on the initial MOTY, and both of us have to agree a challenger is better for that match to supplant the champ. So this one doesn't take over the top spot. NOW, if we were assigning points, I imagine Phil would have had it about 70-30 Eddie, and I would have had it 45-55 Necro, meaning it would have been 125-75 Eddie, a total blowout. But as Phil told me, "rules are rules, as we as a country are discovering". So Necro/Klein retains by survival.

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Blogger Discotortoise said...

Damn. I'd have Guerrero-Lesnar as the greatest WWE title match ever, and I think that its layout, the opposite of a Backlund or Hogan match with the ubermenschen heel & the underdog technician heel, is genuinely brilliant in terms of storytelling and that its payoff of anti-heroism in wrestling, particularly of that Guerrero gimmick that had worked SO WELL in the previous 18 months or so, is unparalleled. It is a perfect morality play by two of the all-time best PEAK wrestlers in their peaks.

But at least it makes the canon.

1:34 PM  

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