Segunda Caida

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

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

1991 Match of the Year

Ric Flair/Barry Windham/Sid Vicious/Larry Zbyszko v. Sting/Brian Pillman/Steiner Brothers WCW WrestleWar 2/24

PAS: Yes indeed this holds up really well, it had been years since I had seen it and had totally forgot that Zbyszko was in instead of Arn (was Arn hurt? Larry was fine but Arn is Arn). Opening of this is totally amazing, Pillman is the focus of this match and this is one of the great babyface performances in wrestling history. I loved him demanding to go in first even with the damaged shoulder while Ross describes how he has been and underdog his whole life. Pillman was really great at using the cage like a jungle gym, swinging into a headscissors, grabbing the roof for a dropkick ect., Windham is a big bumper, great bleeder and nasty fucker, everything you want from a heel in this match. Flair was a bunch of fun too, coming in and having a great chop exchange with Brian, taunting the other faces. Sting and Rick Steiner are both great houses of fire and the moment where the babyfaces even up the match is always one of my favorite parts of of Wargames. Sid was Sid, although turning the first powerbomb into a ganzo bomb did add to the nastiness of the finish, not sure if two regular powerbombs get us to a ref stoppage.

ER: Yes yes yes! This was what I needed after a dull day at work and lousy traffic. I'm lock step with Phil on this one, right down to wondering why Arn was hanging at ringside instead of being Arn in a WarGames. But whatever, this was an all time WarGames, filled with some great performances, and not just the wrestlers; this may very well be Jim Ross' best match call ever. You could not have asked for a better opening than Pillman/Windham, with JR saying all the right things about Pillman while Pillman unleashes every piece of offense he knows on Windham. Windham gets overwhelmed by Pillman and projects it to the back, scrambling, bleeding, bumping all over (good lord that bump into the second ring where he hits the top rope and flips over!). Then Flair comes in and they both go after Pillman's taped up shoulder. Everybody tightens up everything in this and it makes the whole thing play so well: Sting is potatoing people, Larry is working cheap shots and interference, Rick Steiner is stiff arming everybody and just when you think he can be selfish he bumps a Sid lariat right on the side of his head, Scott showed awesome fire from even before getting in the cage, having to be held back by Nick Patrick until the countdown was over. Everybody had some awesome star moments, with Pillman and Windham especially standing out throughout the whole massacre. The Sid finish was vicious, and Phil is right that after all Pillman went through it would have been kind of a downer if he had gone down to two regular powerbombs, so that ganso bomb was just an accidental high end finish. Blood, violence, theatricality, chaos, the amazing kind of wrestling that needs to storyline explanation and can be put on cold to liven spirits.


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Monday, February 27, 2017

Lucha Underground Season 3 Episode 8: Gift of the Gods

MD: Eric fell a little behind on these which gave me the excuse to fall a lot behind on them. I had hit the point of Sexy Star exhaustion, I think. Let's see if we can't power through this part of the season though.

ER: Dario is drinking a pretty impressive amount of whiskey when Sexy Star comes in. Those are some big tumblers he has and it was still filled up over two fingers. This consumption may offer some insight into why Dario keeps thinking it's a good idea to keep Sexy Star around.

1. Marty The Moth Martinez vs. Ivelisse

ER: Here's the obligatory Phil throwback spot where he points out them running the same angle and same match on the same show. On a show with a big intergender main event, we have to open the show with a big intergender opener. And I thought this was a really good and really smartly worked match. Marty has quickly turned into one of my favorite guys in the fed, and while we don't get his big bumps in this one, we get to see him show off with some offense, and feed into Ivelisse's offense in satisfying ways. She takes tons of huge slams, and laces into him with strikes to make the size difference seem less silly. Her running knee looked great and her kicks to a kneeling Moth landed with a great snap. Nothing overstayed its welcome, and the whole thing arced wonderfully. We get Sami Callihan's debut and he makes it count with an awesome pump kick into Moth's jowls. Sami/Ivelisse vs. Moth/Mariposa is actually something I want to see.

MD: I'm writing this after having seen the entire show. As such, yes, it's nuts they did both intergender matches in the same hour. Parts of the narrative, like the male being stronger and having an obvious advantage and the female getting her biggest moment with some sort of choke showed up both times. The problem, especially, was that Ivelisse is so much more believable in the role, especially because she has the killer strikes that Star simply doesn't. Marty's reactions to everything are my favorite thing about Lucha Underground. I'd watch him ham it up over even the best Aerostar dives every week if I had to choose. Sami is such a breath of fresh air too. It's Lucha Underground so there's nothing pure about it. I'm more than happy to see a guy who can have world class matches show up.

ER: I think that's Paul London in the white suit, but I still avoid tapings results. I've seen him recently working a shitty bearded lame sunglasses asshole gimmick on the indies, and the person in the white suit certainly seemed like a shitty bearded lame sunglasses asshole.

MD: I haven't seen Paul London wrestle in years. Him bounding about in a rabbit gimmick spouting goofy Lewis Carroll lines seems as good an addition to the mix as anything else. Like I said, not lucha purism here.

2. Cage vs. Texano

ER: This is the 3rd match of the 5 match series that did not need to happen. If you could choose a 5 match series between any two guys in LU, how many combos would you have to make before you got down to Cage vs. Texano? Match wasn't very good, either. Texano really is a total zero in LU. I'm sure there are many viewers who have no clue he's any kind of deal in Mexico. I like Matt's use of the word "weightless", because as I was watching this I was thinking about how nothing they did had any weight to it. It was like that Eric Bana Hulk movie, with Hulk just jumping and bouncing around off things. The weight was wrong. Obviously they were in there doing the moves, and this was probably the best of the three so far, with both guys taking some big bumps on the floor. Even then it totally devolved into Cage 2 count NO Texano 2 count NO Cage 2 count NO! bullshit. And lucky us, we'll get 2 more chances to get it right!!!

MD: This is another reason I let myself get distracted. Cage sure hit a lot of offense here. That might have been the story, that Cage was just too much and Texano, with his back against the wall, outmatched, hit a quirky roll up. I thought some of the transitions back to Cage being on offense were good, but they didn't at all come together. I'm well past the point of caring here. At least this is all leading up to godly spiritual possession or something, right? The freakshow plot aspects of LU are the draw, not something to live in spite of.

ER: Dario clearly seemed three sheets while talking to Rey. And it's understandable that he is this smashed, as he has to continually convince himself that he has made the correct choice in keeping Sexy Star this strong.

MD: I love how Dario isn't just a straight out one-dimensional bad guy. He's got his motivations. Rey brings him money. He's the biggest draw he has and he knows it. Therefore he'll treat him differently than everyone else. Dario's at least two-dimensional.

3. Johnny Mundo vs. Sexy Star

ER: This was probably the best we could hope for out of a Sexy Star match, even if I think the smoke and mirrors went on far too long. And the fact this is maybe the best of the endless parade of Sexy Star matches is made even more impressive because she turns in one of her most putrid performances. For the first 4 minutes Mundo totally broomsticks her, just a total Weekend at Bernie's performance inside a wrestling ring. All the matwork is done against a total corpse, and all the broomsticking is definitely for the best as when she actually tries to do anything it's a mess of terrible strikes, stumbling to take offense, and taking forever to perform her own offense. She even spun the wrong way on a rolling elbow, which is just wonderful and amazing. It had some built-in good moments that any corpse could have performed, like Mundo moonsaulting off her feet after backdropping her off the top. Her chairshot on Mundo lead to a good kickout as I was greatly afraid of having to sit through Matanza vs. Sexy Star. So yeah, I think all the run ins and kickouts eventually wore out their welcome, but the overall presentation was as good as it could have been, and a really impressive Mundo performance. He was given a pretty impossible task and turned it into a very good segment.

MD: As far as BS Attitude Era matches go, this wasn't so bad. I am not an execution guy at all. I like the showmanship of pro wrestling. I like the easy way more than the hard way most of the time. I like the symbolic representation. If you can't let me suspend my disbelief at least a little though, you've got a problem. This was put together well with the impossible odds and Star and Mundo both being well protected, but especially with the contrast of the Ivelisse performance, it didn't quite meet me half way. I'm still not convinced that we're not going to get Matanza vs Star at some point either, so I'm not taking Eric's consolation prize to heart.


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Sunday, February 26, 2017

2016 Ongoing MOTY List: Orihara Goes for GUTS

64. Masao Orihara v. Daisuke GUTS World 2/23/16

PAS: It feels like we need a deep dive into recent Orihara. Here he is going after the GUTS world title against genial Misawa cosplayer Daisuke and it is pretty boss. Orihara looks like he hasn't lost a step since his scumbag peak in the early 2000s. He still looks like a guy who runs one of those weird Tokyo bars where girls dressed like Teddy Bears jam their toes into businessmen's mouths, and he still has some super crisp and brutal offense, great looking punches, and elbows, awesome piledriver. Meanwhile Daisuke is pretty much all rolling elbows, but they look pretty good, and he has a great Sliding D. match was pretty great from jump street, and built to an exciting finish.  Orihara is a secret 2016 Puro superworker.

ER: It's weird that almost 30 years into his career, this is my favorite Orihara. It was fun seeing him die on bumps and crash and burn on missed flying moves, but now he's full on Yakuza button man Fit Finlay and it's the best. His style is relentless as he uses his whole body to constantly attack the mononymous Daisuke. Daisuke could never catch his breath as Orihara was always there with a punch, kick, elbow, boot toe, fat flipping senton, knee, or hip attack. He would start an attack standing, and keep attacking all the way down: punch Daisuke to his knees, knee him in the side of his head while he's on his knees, kick him in the head while he's on the mat. A wrinkle I loved about the match was Orihara being tempted to go back to his flyer roots, and that being the thing allowing Daisuke to make his way back. Orihara misses two big moonsaults at two different times of the match, and Daisuke is right there to hit his aforementioned Misawa elbows, and they were very nice elbows. At no point did Daisuke look on the level or Orihara, so I appreciated the ways they had Daisuke get back into things. But yeah, Orihara, man who has seen some shit I would not believe, has unexpectedly become one of my favorite workers in the world.


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Saturday, February 25, 2017

EVOLVE 78 Road Report + EVOLVE 79 Live Blog

I went to EVOLVE in Joppa last night with Childs in the new weird thing where I had a baby and am now going to live wrestling a lot.

Matt Riddle v. Anthony Henry

I didn't really care for this. It had it's moments, Riddle is always going to do some cool stuff, I liked the early amateur takedowns, and the finish combo of fisherman's buster into tombstone into twister was very cool. Most of this though I didn't like, I thought Henry was pretty good in the Style Battle Yehi match, but he was working as a Dixie Davey Richards in this, lots of stiff kicks to the chest and grimacing. There wasn't much selling, a terrible looking New Japan forearm and stare exchange (which has infected the indies like Noro virus). Riddle is getting less interesting to me as he gets more experience, he has sanded away a bunch of the rough edges which made him interesting, and is working more like an indy workrate dude, I am concerned his is developing Kurt Angleitis.

Austin Theory v. Darby Allin

Crossfit has really ruined wrestling, now even your guy working a Kidman in the flock junky gimmick has super well developed abs. Allin's crazy face tattoo is a nice step, but he needs to stop with the wall jumps if he really wants to live the gimmick. This match was pretty great, Allin is a nutso bumper, but here he was mostly doing cool springboard rana's and armdrags, Allin basically works like a US version of Freelance or Dinamic Black. Theroy has a dumb name, and goofy gear (he has Unproven on his tights, works as a 19 year old, but he is going to have to buy new tights in a year or so, can't really push a guy who's tights say Unproven) but I really dug him as a base for Allin's fun flips. Theory also does a nutso top rope moonsault to the floor where he nukes his ribs on the guardrail, I was really worried because Allin seems like a guy unwilling to be outbumped but he kept it in his pants. Really liked the finish, with Allin flubbing a springboard briefly, but enough to get caught.

Ethan Page v. Jason Kincaid

Ethan Page matches are always a chore, but I minded this less then usual. Page is as his best as kind of a put upon stooge and he was amusing being flummoxed by Kincaid's goofus shtick. I like Kincaid 's spots but he doesn't always land his offense cleanly and there was things from both guys which didn't look good, especially when Page started taking more of the match. Still this was basically fine which is all I can hope for with a Page match.

Chris Dickinson/Jaka v. The Gatekeepers

It is odd that Jaka is working a tiny ethnic guy who yells things in a weird voice on the same show where Yehi is fighting for the title. B. Brian Blair wasn't cupping his ear and dropping a leg on MSG undercards. Match had its moments, Dickinson and Jaka really laid it in especially on the bigger of the Gatekeepers (who is legit big and muscular, he would have had a career in a different age).

ACH v. Tracey Williams

I had pretty low expectations for this coming in, but it ended up maybe my MOTN. Both guys really laced into each other, in a fed and a show where you have a lot of stiff workers this felt a step above. Williams especially was landing these really nasty elbows and chops to the sides of ACH's neck and his throat he also landed a really uncalled for lariat. ACH got in some of his trademark spots, but mostly went at Williams too. Not sure if this will come off on tape as good as it came off live, but live, it made us both wince multiple times.

Drew Galloway v. Jeff Cobb

You don't usually see this kind of heavyweight scrap on Indy shows. Cobb's strength stuff is alway impressive and it is even more impressive to watch him throw around a beast like Galloway. I also loved Galloway doing a slingshot beneath the ring, catching Cobb's neck on a metal poll, I remember Drew McIntyre doing a bunch of Finlayesque use of the ring spots during his WWE run, so I am glad he still has that arrow. Loved the finish with Cobb powering out of a backslide which I have never seen before, only to have Galloway flip over him and hit his DDT, really cool stuff. Still waiting for Cobb to have a real classic, but he is a pretty low floor guy, he is always at a minimum worth watching.

Keith Lee v. Zach Sabre Jr.

Lee is huge live, so crazy that out of these two the skinny british guy doing Johnny Saint spots was the one with a big WWE push. Worked exactly how it should have been with Lee throwing around ZSJ using his strength, and Sabre trying to catch him in submissions. Sabre also used Lee's size as an excuse to unload on him, his Penalty kick usually looks kind of shitty, but he booted the fuck out of Lee, I also liked that he used him as a jungle gym, climbing all around him and putting on weird abdominal stretch variations. Lee as a indy Mark Henry is great, surprising bursts of agility along with big throws and good shit talking.

Timothy Thatcher v. Fred Yehi

So am I the only guy who has noticed that Thatcher seems to be working a subtle Alt-Right gimmick? I made a joke to Childs about his new Richard Spenser haircut, but then I notice he has Ring Kampf written on his jacket and shorts, and the ring jacket is lined with plaid just like every Skinhead punk I punched in college. Also going to study in the Snake Pit with Billy Robinson and adhering to a technical European style of wrestling seems like exactly how a white nationalist indy wrestler would behave. I am not sure why Gabe put him with a Black manager, but it would be just like a Jew promoter to promote @White Genocide.

Although it was hard to unnotice that, the match itself was pretty damn great. At this point Thatcher isn't going to deviate from his style, he is going to work a Thatcher match even if that isn't what the crowd wants. I admire that, fuck pandering to the jerks who populate indy wrestling shows, do your thing. This was a really good example of a Thatcher match, Yehi is very capable of working that style and looking good doing it, and he will also deliver a lot of the flash needed. Thatcher's shots don't sound sharp but they thud, and they were thudding. I loved Yehi's ground and pound, and Thatchers choke throw is a hell of a finish. Could have maybe used one Yehi rope break at the end, but otherwise no complaints.

Overall a really good show that delivered four great matches to close out

EVOLVE 79 Live Blog

I am home with Baby Zach so I figured I would check this out

ACH v. Jason Kincaid

I enjoyed some of Kincaid's stuff again, especially his leaping off the stage to dropkick ACH in the ring, he definitely brings a different vibe to these shows. After loving the ACH match the night before, this was a little more generically juniorish. Fine stuff, enjoyed it fine, but relatively forgettable.

Chris Dickinson v. Fred Yehi v. Austin Theory v. Anthony Henry

This was pretty good when the catch point boys were involved a little less so with the pretty boys. Dickinson especially was fired up, throwing big kicks and throws. Kept moving at a nice pace, and I liked the finish with Dickinson stealing the win by getting a pin before Fred could get the tap out. I think the Catch Point explodes tag will be really good.

Jaka v. Jeff Cobb

I was excited to see these guys face off last night, and this was a great little scrap. A pair of Islanders pounding on each other (Jaka is Samoan? Puerto Rican? Dominican? I am guessing he is from some island). There was one German suplex no sell section which I didn't love, but everything else was awesome. Jaka was throwing shots, and Cobb was snatching him out of the air with some huge throws including the best tour of the islands I have seen. Wouldn't mind seeing them run this back.

Ethan Page v. Darby Allin

Great match, easily the best I have seen from either guy. Allin is truly insane, he gets presslamed from the stage into a post, and then gets his hands handcuffed behind and takes multiple bumps on his handcuffed wrists. Page has been trying to do Franchise Shane Douglas and this is the first time I though he got there (not that I love Shane Douglas, but Shane was way more effective at his stuff then Page has been so far), he came off as such as a hatable prick and laid in the kind of beating you need to get this match over. Allin's comeback was insane, he is hitting rana's and dropkicks with his hands cuffed one of the craziest wrestling moments I can remember, like something out of a Jackie Chan movie.

Keith Lee v. Tracy Williams

Another good Keith Lee match, unlike Sabre last night, Williams tried to stand toe to toe with Lee hitting him with hard shots, but standing in front of a bigger puncher is never a good idea, and he gets smashed. Williams really bounced on Lee powermoves, huge powerbomb and got smashed with the firemans carry jackhammer. Lee is not working as a heavyweight with highspots in EVOLVE, he is working as a smashing machine and that works better.

Matt Riddle v. Drew Galloway

I thought this had some good ideas, but never really got out of second gear, the blows were solid, but I felt it was a bit repetitive, and needed to be more violent. I liked the finish, although a ref stop on body blows is a little weird, Galloway should have at least sold broken ribs or something

Timothy Thatcher v. Zach Sabre Jr.

Really great match with Sabre trying to finally be the guy to solve Thatcher, and a rabid crowd wanting Thatcher to go down. Really great early grappling leading to a super hot finish, with Thatcher pulling out counters to counters, before finally falling to a crazy abdominal stretch version. The announcer mentioned Thatcher watching Johnny Valentine, and I see his title reign almost like Johnny Valentine as he trained the crowd to respect and loathe his style, Thatcher had more real heel heat then anyone I can remember seeing in EVOLVE, and he did it all with a sneer and an armbar. Really exiting match, that I especially loved watching live not knowing about the title change.

(Thatcher Pepe watch: Lenny Leanord mentions that he is spending all of his free time in Germany, and makes a weird sarcastic reference about him partying with Jill Scott, also post match ZSJ gives a speech about accepting all people as equal, and loving everyone which I am reading as a subtweet)

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Friday, February 24, 2017

Berzerker Beat the Dead Man Using This One Weird Trick

"Undertaker, Paul Bearer, my Berzerker issue challenge to YOU, Undertaker. Upon BEATING you, Undertaker, I, Mr. Fuji, will have a personal Viking funeral for you two. Undertaker, Paul Bearer, you'll be cremated!!" ~Mr. Fuji

42. Berzerker vs. Mark Roberts - Superstars 4/8/92

Roberts is a big guy, billed at 270 and looking close to it, with a physique like Michael Elgin. He starts by going for a lock up, so Berzker just pump kicks him in the chest in nasty fashion. Then he hits a kneedrop, leg drop, and finishes with the slam. Roberts had the size, but was a real cold fish in bed, just lying there motionless after moves. Sell it a little, Mark. IMPORTANT: Berzerker wins with the falling slam, the first time he's actually pinned a jobber. Even MacMahon notes that it is something new from the Berzerker.

"Ohhhhhh Berzerker and Mr. Fuji, what a fatal mistake you've made, and now next week you'll pay the price!" ~Paul Bearer

"Throughout the annals of time, man has had to face his destiny. You face your destiny and your death on the same day." ~Undertaker

"Undertaker, you fell for trap, and next week you're gonna pay for it!" ~Mr. Fuji

"Undertaker, they say you're not human! Well Undertaker, I'm berserk, and whatever don't kill me makes me stronger! Undertaker, I'm gonna stomp you into the stinkin' dust where you came from!" ~Berzerker

43. Berzerker vs. Undertaker - Superstars 4/25/92

I loved this. Probably more than anybody should. But it was 2 minutes long and absolutely perfect. Before the bell Berzerker jumps Paul Bearer and bashes him with his shield, with Bearer taking a wild bump to the floor. Then Berzerker clunks Undertaker a couple times with the shield, real hard shots from an awkward pointy looking shield. Then, he gets out his Viking sword. He hits Taker with the broadside of the sword and then, in an amazing spot, lifts the sword above his head with both hands and plunges it towards Taker's chest, with Taker rolling out of the way and the sword sticking vertically out of the mat (where it will stay for the rest of the match). The two collide on a shoulderblock and then Nord clotheslines Taker over the top, then hits a great double axe handle off the apron. He tosses Taker around on the floor, tears up the ring mat, and blasts Undertaker with a piledriver on the concrete! Berzerker starts flipping out, takes off his loincloth, and Fuji walks him to the back, but then Taker sits up and starts walking after Berzerker, with Berzerker flipping out even more! Holy shit!! That just made me want to see their whole house show run, and then their PPV blowoff that doesn't exist!!

"Undertaker, I told you!" Mr. Fuji

"Undertaker, the Berzerker proved you ARE human. Undertaker, the Berzerker got his shield on you! Undertaker, the Berzerker got his hands on you! Undertaker, the Berzerker got his boots on you! Undertaker, I smashed your head into the stinkin' cement, and next time...I'm not gonna take it easy on you!" ~Berzerker

"Ohhhh Mr. Fuji and the Berzerker, ohhh you tried to steal our urn, you tried to drive your sword through the body of the Undertaker last week. It's going to be over for you!" ~Paul Bearer

"When you knocked at the Devil's door, did you expect the Reaper? Berzerker, Mr. Fuji, rest in peace." ~Undertaker

(one week later)

"Paul Bearer, when my Berzerker eliminates your Undertaker, I will put your remains in your urn!" ~Mr. Fuji

"Undertaker! How'd it feel to have someone like the Berzerker go berzerk on you!? You didn't get away from the shield, Undertaker! You got away from the sword, Undertaker. But I guarantee you next time, I'm gonna harpoon you, Undertaker! Cuz I tell you what, I closed a lot of men's eyes, too. Undertaker, I can't wait to get my hands and sword on you!" ~Berzerker

"Ohhh Mr. Fuji, what you had your Berzerker do was unforgiveable. You tried to steal our urn! You tried to put the sword into the body of my Undertaker! You'll pay!!" ~Paul Bearer

"The crimes...committed against this body...are unimportant. The body is only a tool in which the soul will use. Now, Berzerker, I'll destroy your body, and I'll possess your soul...for alllll of eternity." ~Undertaker

44. Berzerker vs. Scott Taylor - Superstars 4/29/92

The rematch we've been waiting almost 8 months for!! Taylor has gotten a little wiser, his mullet has grown a little longer, maybe added a little size, obviously he's watched some tape of the Berzerker. And in watching those tapes he's picked up on secrets, he's picked up on weaknesses, things he's noticed that can beat the Berzerker. Knowing this, he gets booted right in the forehead to start, then bieled across the ring. And then bieled again. And then also again. Huh. Taylor eats a Bruiser Brody type bodyslam, kneedrop, legdrop, standing splash...his time spent in the tape room is failing him. And, Berzerker throws him to the floor, Taylor accepting his fate and not even grabbing the top rope on his way down. As he gains his footing on the floor, Berzerker does back bumps in celebration. For Taylor, additional research will have to be conducted.

"Undertaker, my Berzerker stopped you in your own tracks" ~Mr. Fuji

"Undertaker, I told you we were the most dangerous men in the WWF! Undertaker, I told you I was the toughest man in the WWF! How did it feel to get your head caved in on the cement! Undertaker, I can't WAIT for the witching hour!" ~Berzerker

(next week)

"Ohhhhhh Mr. Fuji and the Berzerker. You tried to put an end to my Undertaker; the piledriver on the concrete floor, the sword, now you'll PAY!" ~Paul Bearer

"Berzerker...froms simple minds come simple acts. You attacked the body, but the soul is eternal..." ~Undertaker

45. Berzerker vs. Glen Ruth - Superstars 4/29/92

Berzerker is truly making mince meat out of the individual members of Attitude era tag teams. I don't remember Ruth as such a big spring-y bumper when he was Headbanger Thrasher. His bumps are kind of same-y but they have some snap to them, like when he bumps a lariat up around his shoulders. He also lands super hard on the floor, getting tossed over the top. Crazy to think Ruth had a few appearance on WWE TV LAST YEAR. When watching Berzerker crush him I'm sure we were all anticipating a 25 year career for him. 

"Undertaker and Paul Bearer, my Berzerker stopped you Undertaker, right in your tracks. And let me tell you Undertaker, how do you feel to be punished and insulted?" ~Mr. Fuji

"Undertaker, how did it feel to have your head concaved against the stinkin' cement!? I told the people all along I was the toughest man in the WWF, I told 'em, and now there's not doubt in their minds that WE are the most dangerous men in the World Wrestling Federation. Undertaker, next time when I go to stab you, I ain't missing!" ~Berzerker

46. Berzerker/King Haku/Guerrero Del Futuro vs. Genichiro Tenryu/Ashura Hara/Ultimo Dragon - SWS 5/20/92

This is not actually that strange of a trios lineup, compared to what WAR/SWS can famously spit out; These teams are pretty common sense, two big bosses on each team, and one flier. I didn't remember Hara getting so large before he retired, here he's a couple more months of snacking away from being John Tenta...but fat Hara is still awesome Hara, duh. Gaijin team is really fun, with Phil's old commentary partner/Black Terry partner Guerrero del Futuro, and a noticeably less bulky Berzerker and Haku. Late '92 saw a lot of WWF guys with suddenly deflated physiques. It's kind of jarring to see the shift. Berzerker was probably the second largest guy in WWF around this time, second only to Warlord, and here he looks closer to Donovan Dijak (who is muscular but not jacked like 1991 Warlord/Berzerker) and Haku is clearly way softer around the middle. That must have been a weird time to be a backstage fly on the wall in WWF. But the match is predictably a blast, with plenty of neat dynamics and satisfyingly stiff work. It's funny how time changes things, as my early WAR show purchases 18+ years ago were to see Ultimo Dragon, and now he is always one of the guys I least look forward to seeing on WAR shows. He's fine here, but I can't help but notice how much I get excited for any combo of the other 5 guys. But Futuro and Ultimo work together nicely, which makes sense. Futuro mostly acts as base for him, with both spilling admirably into the crowd off an Asai moonsault. Futuro does get one cool piece of offense on him, a kind of running cannonball: instead of hitting a crossbody while both were rope running, he kind of half somersaults into him, landing back first and sideways while on the run. It looked trippy and cool, someone should steal it.

There was a strange thing happening between Berzerker/Tenryu, as it really felt like Tenryu didn't take him seriously, and instead wanted to work with Haku. Tenryu would always kind of brush him off, quickly dispose of him and demand Haku. I didn't mind as he and Haku beat the shit out of each other. Haku was a monster here, and pretty much always looks like a monster in his WAR/SWS stuff. I don't think any version of Haku comes close to the badass he unleashes in WAR. Still, even with Tenryu not really giving him tons, Berzerker bumps big for him, including taking his wildly fast bump to the floor off a mean Tenryu lariat, then flipping out and dangerously throwing a table around ringside. Hara and Haku bring the headbutts, and this match has a little bit of everything: Flying, stiff strikes, big bumps, unique match-ups. You know, pretty much what you want out of WAR/SWS. It didn't really build or go anywhere, but you don't always watch WAR/SWS for build, you typically watch for old lumpy sump and rugby guys smashing each other in the face, and that happened plenty. Always awesome.

"Undertaker, Ultimate Warrior, you're look at the two biggest men in the World Wrestling Federation, controlled by the sickest man in the World Wrestling Federation! Now what kind of chance do you think you two got, when US two get our hands on your cold, stinkin' flesh. And Warrior, the muscles and the screamin' ain't gonna get it done!" ~Berzerker

"Ultimate Warrior, the curse has been put on you. YOU have stepped into my black circle, and that circle is closing...on you." ~Papa Shango

"Let the heavens FALL below, and let hell RISE with the Undertaker. And as they meet, let the entire universe set itself afire! For the curse you have Papa Shango, and the freak of nature you have brought in the Berzerker, is of no challenge, no purpose to what I live for, and what this man will die for." ~Ultimate Warrior

"Gentleman what you must understand, is that we fought through the lights of the sky, and we purged below to the depths of hell. We battled 'til no man could comprehend the final end. Now you Shango, Berzerker, will falllll." ~Undertaker

47. Berzerker vs. Bruce Mitchell - Superstars 6/1/92

Remember when UWF used a jobber they named Davey Meltzer? Is this just ACTUALLY Bruce Mitchell? I'm going to pretend it is. It may be. I know nothing about his pre-wrestling journalist career. Bruce Mitchell is a pretty cold fish in the ring though. He eats two big falling slams, a big legdrop, boot to the chest, weenies out on the bump to the floor, quits his dreams of being a pro wrestler, and focuses on writing about wrestling for a living. Perhaps this was some sort of stab at George Plimpton style participatory journalism? Also, perhaps it was a different person.

"Undertaker, they said you were unstoppable. Well I stopped you COLD, just like your rotten flesh! Undertaker, you get close to me, and I'm gonna take your stinkin' head off! Undertaker, you go get the Ultimate Warrior now huh!? Undertaker, you two ain't gonna look real big at the feet of me and Papa! You ain't gonna look real big when the devious one sics us on you, are you? Huss!" ~Berzerker

"Ultimate Warrior, the spell has been put on you. You have SEEN the powers of Papa Shango. Undertaker, you are not above reproach. You DABBLE in the SPIRITS. You know nothing about death." ~Papa Shango

"Deep six. Unnatural black magic. Undertaker, I have had cause to walk in your world and try and understand. I shall let the past be the past for you Papa Shango, and the Berzerker from years past. You know by now, that the combination of the Ultimate Warrior, and the grave walker Undertaker is something more deadly than you could ever deal with."  ~Ultimate Warrior

"Since making the WWF my personal burial ground, I've chosen my souls very carefully. Now you've conjured up all that is evil and all that is good. The end is near." ~Undertaker


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Thursday, February 23, 2017

You Won't Believe What Doctors Don't Want You to Know About Berzerker

33. Berzerker vs. British Bulldog - MSG 12/29/91

Here we have the match that would a few months later get cut for time off WrestleMania VIII, and it's a shame as I really liked it. I liked Berzerker far more than Davey Boy in this one. They exchange some decent shoulderblocks and some of that crazy stamina, as Berzerker and Davey Boy run the ropes a bunch and criss-cross. It feels like Berzerker is purposely trying to get his opponents to gas out sometimes. Then Davey dropkicks him which Berzerker kind of no sells, so Davey just clotheslines him to the floor. Berzerker would take two big bumps to the floor in this match; that one off the clothesline, and a later one to establish his aggression, where he ties Davey in the ropes, kicks him a couple times, then charges into a huge backdrop bump to the floor. Ancient Berserker warriors were said to be relentless, as if fighting in a trance like state. And Nord really captures that idea in all his matches, even though it's never really properly put over on commentary as such. But this whole match really highlights the character's relentless high stamina style. He bumps to the floor and immediately rolls back in and starts punching. He wasn't the type of heel to roll to the floor, pound the apron in frustration, get consoled by his manager, have the ref back his opponent off, then get back in. He was a man who kept charging back into battle with wild eyes and Huss aplenty. Berzerker takes most of this match, throwing a bunch of nice stomps to the back of Davey's head, his cool missile shoulderblock, a bunch of nice kicks to the ribs, a really good world's strongest slam for a couple nice pinfalls. He even gets a visual pin with his feet on the ropes, leading to Davey narrowly getting the win with a schoolboy. This would have been better than all but a couple of the matches at WrestleMania VIII.

34. Berzerker/Shawn Michaels vs. Kendo Nagasaki/Kenichi Oya - SWS 1/6/92

Nothing will ever beat the Straight and Strong SWS T-Tex logo. It's so stupid and so brilliant. And look at THAT tag team and try to explain it to me. I could be wrong but I don't think Michaels had even turned on Jannetty yet. Berzerker amusingly whips at both men with his belt as they enter the ring. IMPORTANT: Berzerker strips off his tunic and wrestles in trunks and fur boots for the first time ever. Possibly trying to evoke Brody to the Japanese fans, even moreso than usual? But who cares, because this is really fun. Michaels busts his ass and does work as a heel, which is really satisfying. He was kind of a punky Dynamite Kid type here, bumping big but also hitting sneak shots and nasty stomps. Oddly enough, the crowd could not care less about Berzerker. They don't react to ANYTHING that he does. He has a sequence with Nagasaki where he takes several bumps, including a big one to the floor, and it's just silence. Then Michaels tags in, does a very normal armdrag on Oya, and it gets cheers and applause. It's like they rejected Berzerker outright, on appearance. He kept trying hard, piledriving Nagasaki on the floor, huge chest bump into the ringpost, does the splits bump, yelling at the crowd, nothing. No reaction. I wanted him to just break down and yell "It's just a damn popularity contest with you kids!" but he just kept plugging away. Michaels was at peak form here, working fast spots, landing a low crossbody with a thud, huge flip bump in the corner, brawling into the crowd with Nagasaki (including get tossed over a table into the chairs), and I got way into this match. Very by the numbers tag, but satisfying because of it. Berzerker pins Oya with his falling slam. Michaels and Berzerker cutting off the ring to work over Oya was a real highlight, super fun match.

35. Berzerker vs. Fumihiro Niikura - SWS 1/8/92

A pretty dominant Berzerker win. Niikura is a guy I like but a name pretty much forgotten. He was not flashy, but I liked what he brought. My favorite Berzerker competitive matches tend to be ones where he's the aggressor who starts missing moves. This one was worked more 50/50, but in that style where one guy takes his 50 up front, the other guy gets his 50, then the first guy wins. That's a common match format, but almost always unsatisfying. It would be interesting to figure out a couple of good matches that use that format as I'm sure there out there, maybe right under my nose, but I imagine it would take some creativity to make it work. As I think about it I'm sure there are several Fujiwara and Ishikawa matches that would techincally fall into that match structure. Here Berzerker dominates to start, Niikura comes back with a cool punch combo and a nice DDT that really plants Berzerker, but Berzerker wins fairly easily with his falling slam, and then destroys a turnbuckle pad after the match in tribute to George "the Animal" Steele, 25 years into the future. (Sadly, the only online link I could find, was heavily clipped)

"Nobody beats my Berzerker in the Royal Rumble!" ~Mr Fuji

"This is the Berzerker's match! You take 29 other guys and throw 'em over the top rope! And whether you like it or not, you're going to have a new World Wrestling Federation CHAMPION! Huss! Huss!" ~Berzerker

36. The Royal Rumble - 1/19/92

Sadly, their words were not prophetic. Somebody DID beat the Berzerker in the Royal Rumble, and it did NOT end up being the Berzerker's match. More has been written online about this Rumble than probably every other Rumble combined, so I'm not going to waste too much time recapping this thing. If you like the Royal Rumble, odds are you've gone out of your way to watch this one. It had tons of kayfabe major stars in it, and Flair won the title in an awesome performance that saw him take a dozen big bumps. Even right from his first lock up as the 3rd participant he was bumping like crazy, and that really didn't stop as the match went on. It's a great Rumble, lots of neat one on one match up between guys who match up well, the eliminations were handled smart, it really holds up. The whole thing plays nicely on past histories, with stuff like Kerry Von Erich going right at Flair, Valentine going after him, etc. Flair has history with tons of the guys in the match, which made the layout of it make even more sense. Flair's performance overshadows Piper's really great performance. He's not in for as long as Flair, but Piper is such a great battle royal worker, knowing when to pour on the energy and when to hold back. Berzerker sadly doesn't get much of a run at all. He comes in fairly late at 22, and Heenan generously puts him over as a major threat. "What's his specialty!!?? How does he win matches!?" Which, yeah, the guy literally wins matches by tossing guys over the top rope. THIS IS HIS MATCH TO LOSE!! He gets saddled with Duggan and IRS which stinks, as Flair, Piper and Undertaker are all in the ring and all infinitely more interesting opposition. He does get to stomp Savage a bit, and in a moment I had forgotten Berzerker, IRS and Undertaker all work over Virgil. may have overestimated how much manpower you would need to combat Virgil. Berzerker keeps getting sucked into the Duggan vortex, although really that makes tons of story sense as Duggan pinned him at Survivor Series. So I don't love it, but I appreciate the layout. Berzerker does get some nice moments spearheading a group attack on Hogan, holding him for Undertaker and IRS. Hogan then clotheslines Taker over, and sadly, Berzerker charges at Hogan and takes a great backdrop bump to the floor. He lasted a little over 10 minutes. BUT as long as we're sticking with kayfabe, Berzerker getting eliminated also makes the most sense, as he takes more bumps over the top to the floor than anybody else in the fed. He's high risk/high reward, like early Randy Johnson, tons of strikeouts and tons of walks. He's great at throwing guys out, and highly susceptible to being thrown out. The inscrutable Berzerker, everybody.

37. Berzerker vs. Big Boss Man - Prime Time Wrestling 2/17/92

Well this was an awesome 3 minutes. I hadn't realized any of their house show matches were actually taped so this is a treat, and it easily gets the full WorldWide point. It's fast paced and they make the most of their short runtime, doing a big punch exchange to start and then going into some stiff shoulderblocks. Berzerker suckers Bossman into a shoulderblock and hits a big boot, and from there we get Bossman taking some big bumps for him. Berzerker does a spot we haven't seen him do, draping Bossman over the middle rope and standing on his shoulders, holding onto the top rope and riding him like Chris Elliott riding the strong swimmer in Cabin Boy. After he hops off, Fuji blasts him in the throat with the cane. Great spot. Berzerker hits a nice kneedrop, and then misses a big one off the middle rope, Bossman comes back with a lariat that takes both men to the floor, and then they brawl to the inevitable count out. After the count out Berzerker flips out undoes all the mats at ringside, and slams Bossman on the concrete.

38. Berzerker vs. Randy Savage - Battle of the Superstars 2/18/92

A smarter worked version of Savage's formula match from a few years later, where he would sell for 3 minutes, hit a guy with a bodyslam and win with the elbow. Berzerker bullies him around, with Savage bumping like crazy to the floor three different times. This was all about Berzerker being aggressive, and Macho Man trying to weather the storm. Berzerker would grab him, throw him to the floor, then drag him back inside. It didn't have a ton of trademark Berzerker offense, no falling powerslams, no big boots. Just grabs Savage, throws him to the floor. Savage takes a couple great bumps to the floor, one big one over the top. Berzerker chases, clears the ringside mats, and bodyslams Savage on the concrete. Savage dodges a huge kneedrop back inside, rushes towards Berzerker and eats a big boot. We see our first ref bump (they really weren't common back then) when Savage eats a bodyslam and his boots hit the ref. With the ref down, Savage manages to get Fuji's cane, delivers a cane shot off the top, then hits the elbow. Savage had certainly slimmed down at this point, and looked so small next to Berzerker, but they found a solid way to work in the size difference.

39. Berzerker vs. Jim Brunzell - MSG 2/23/92

Well this wasn't exactly what I was expecting. First, I was surprised that Brunzell was in WWF this late (turns out he worked there through early '93, mainly filling out house shows) and second, I would not have expected him to take 75% of a match against Berzerker. That's really weird, right? We get Brunzell taking almost all of the match, before Berzerker eventually hits a big boot and then catches a Brunzell crossbody and wins with the world's strongest slam. Up until then it was allllll Jumpin' Jim.  But we don't get a lot of wild Berzerker bumps because Brunzell isn't usually a guy who gets a whole lot of offense in matches, so you get Berzerker bumping off dropkicks, stomping around, that kind of thing. He does do his awesome splits bump, and Brunzell is kind of a hilarious guy to do that bump against. For what it's worth, Brunzell looked really good and could clearly still go in '92, this just wasn't the kind of match I was hoping for.

40. 20 Man Battle Royal - MSG 2/23/92

To run through the entrants of this little treat: Berzerker, first one introduced!! He is the immediate top pick of Heenan. British Bulldog, Rick Martel, Hercules, The Bushwhackers, Skinner, Repo Man, Warlord, Chris Walker, Kato, Jim Brunzell, Roddy Piper, Nasty Boys, Undertaker, Big Boss Man, Sid Justice, Ric Flair, & Hulk Hogan. Berzerker was so great during all of the introductions. Remember he was the first one introduced, and everybody got individual entrances. So he had literally 10 minutes in the ring before the match even starts. That's a lot of time to occupy yourself, and he does it with aplomb. He barks at British Bulldog from the aisle way as Bulldog comes out, stomps around the ring, at one point sneaks up behind Finkel and HUSSes right into his ear, startling him. And this battle royal is bullshit because Berzerker is the second guy eliminated. Fucking Chris Walker and Luke Williams were still in there! So many potential match-ups wasted. And this battle royal is filled with a lot of weird match-ups. Every time I got a glimpse of Luke Williams, he was throwing jabs at the Warlord. Just tossing right hands, for like 4 minutes. Hogan was a very good royal worker here, having a contest with Taker to see who could throw better uppercuts at Berzerker's beard, getting into a chop battle with Flair, selling for random attacks by guys like Skinner. But no excuse for Berzerker going out before Kato or Jim Brunzell. BUT, within kayfabe, I have pointed out that Berzerker is high risk high reward in battle royals. Dude is aggressive and dangerous, but his aggression also makes him vulnerable. So, he runs at Hogan with a big boot, misses, and gets tossed over the top. Before Hercules and Skinner. But even with the absurdly quick Berzerker elimination, this was a pretty fun battle royal, if you like battle royals (and I do). Piper had a great showing, his energy is essential in something like this. Martel took a wild elimination bump, Piper did a double clothesline to eliminate Flair AND Repo Man, Sid threw a bunch of knees and leaned 2 feet away from Hogan's punches, which looked terrible. This was a fun battle royal, if you like battle royals. I would have been way into this if I was there live, no matter if I was 11 or 36.

41. Berzerker vs. Don Richter - Prime Time Wrestling 2/24/92

Richter looks like Nick Turturro after he chubbed out, but for a guy I've never heard of he is AWESOME. He likely concusses himself taking super fast back bumps, making Berzerker's pump kick look like a gunshot, taking a chokeslam onto his shoulders, and taking two falling slams and making his leg spasm like Terry Funk while on the mat selling. No clue who he was, but he got murdered here. In fact, here's the obituary for a man named Don Richter, a man who proudly served his country in the Korean War, operated a dairy farm for over 50 years, had 31 (!) grandchildren, and is decidedly not the Don Richter who got murdered by Berzerker. No, this Don Richter died of old age, having lived a love-filled life.

"American fans, look at my Berzerker. He's my software. That's right, he's like a computer: When I push different buttons, he reacts! When I tell him to put a lot of pain and pressure HE DOES to allll his American opponents hahaha" ~Mr Fuji

"Every morning of me and Fuji's life, we say we're gonna mess someone up REAL REAL BAD today, and we ALWAYS DO, EVERY STINKIN' TIME! Well in the World Wrestling Federation, my opponents drop one by one, every stinkin' time!" ~Berzerker

More Berzerker Tomorrow!!


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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

What Happened to Berzerker? We Can't Look Away! The New Look is Mesmerizing...

23. Berzerker vs. Bob Smedley - Prime Time Wrestling 10/1/91

Smedley is Bobby Blaze, using a name that is more amusing, and decidedly less "1991" than Blaze. We were an American Gladiator loving people in 1991. Names like Blaze made sense and felt safe to us. He leans nicely into kicks and snaps back from them on the bump. This could have been a really fun competitive match just a few years later. This was not that.

24. Berzerker vs. Eric Freedom - Superstars 10/21/91

Freedom looks EXACTLY like Todd Pettengill, when Pettengill had a mullet. He also has bushy armpit hair. IMPORTANT: He is the smallest wrestler that Berzerker has faced thus far. He is similar in size to Scott Taylor, but I think Freedom is smaller. Freedom ain't free, though, and Berzerker stiffs him up. Freedom bumps like a maniac, looking and bumping similar to this era Sean Waltman. After getting whipped hard into the buckles and bumping great off it, Lord Alfred cackles about how he's probably paralyzed. He keeps laughing. He's laughing really hard, at his own comment that Eric Freedom is paralyzed. Berzeker mixes up his move order a little bit, dropping Freedom with the falling slam, immediately hitting the big legdrop, then following right up with the kneedrop. I dug the combo. Freedom takes a great rolling bump after getting tossed to the floor. Supposedly this guy still works, wouldn't mind seeing some of this 90s work.

25. Berzerker vs. Bret Hart - MSG 10/28/91

They had another match a year later that was really disappointing, really short, and maybe the least giving Bret Hart match of the 90s. Hart worked competitive matches with every single member of the roster so it was a bummer to see such a non-match against Berzerker. Thankfully I found this one from MSG, which was fleshed out and really good. It goes a bit differently than I expected, with Hart starting out going toe to toe and really throwing everything at Berzerker. Berzerker's three bumps to the floor all came consecutively, with Hart sending him to the floor with a dropkick, clothesline and then an atomic drop. Berzerker would bump over the top, then immediately rush back into the ring and get knocked over again. It was great. His 4th time rushing into the ring he just dives at Bret and catches him with a headbutt to the stomach. And from there we get the Berzerker control segment which I've really come to enjoy. He throws lots of clubbing forearms, big slams, big boots, a perfect piledriver, and he smartly gives Bret hope spots off of his own missed offense. He misses a big kneedrop that allows Bret to land a couple shots, and later he misses a weird and ambitious dropkick from the middle rope, while Bret Hart is lying down. He clearly wasn't going for a leg drop, it was like he wanted to dropkick Bret's face from the middle rope. When Bret does come back it's good, as we get a couple convincing roll ups, Berzerker doing his awesome splits bump off leg kicks so Bret can set up the Sharpshooter (it's a really fun bump, but this was easily the most logical use of it since it tied directly to the sharpshooter), plus a real logical escape from the sharpshooter that seemed like it never happened: Hart went to turn him, and Berzerker just punched him in the face from his back. I really liked the finish, with Berzerker going for a clothesline and Hart landing a snug crucifix for a flash pin, with Berzerker getting up and flipping out postmatch. This is probably the best overall Berzerker match we've seen, and likely the best we'll get. Bret knew how to keep things tight, so instead of the bloated-but-fun 16 minute Bulldog match we get a more snug and satisfying 11 minute version of that. Really good stuff.

26. Berzerker vs. Fred Morgan - November 1991

Oh, Fred Morgan, you're the worst. I cannot explain why I laughed so hard at the way Morgan bumped for the opening club to his back, just dropping to the mat in a belly flop; or, how hard I laughed at how he bumped the next chop, just rigidly dropping to his back and lying motionless. Morgan just seems clueless, with his egg shaped torso in red and blue singlet/tights. He runs nose and mouth into a big boot, and tumbles all the way into the entrance way after getting tossed to the floor, but the guy just looks like the biggest hump. He won't ever get a rematch.

27. Berzerker vs. Russ Greenberg - Wrestling Challenge 11/12/91

I wonder why Greenberg never got more of a shot with WWF. He worked tons of jobber matches in 1991, and had a nice physique. Nice physique and tan is typically enough to get you a shot in early 90s WWF. Here he has bubblegum colored trunks, and admirably goes for a different strategy against Berzerker: He charges him! He runs in trying to lock up! I mean, Berzerker just pump kicks him in the chest. But at least he tried something! Berzerker mixes things up here, swinging Greenberg around in a front headlock, hitting a chokeslam (that Greenberg doesn't get up for) and hitting his awesome missile shoulderblock (that he should use more, as it looks great when it hits AND when it misses). After flubbing the chokeslam I didn't expect much out of the toss to the floor, but Greenberg got launched. Good for him. Still, wonder why he never got a shot. IMPORTANT: Greenberg should have at MINIMUM been brought into 1998 WCW when Jericho kept using that as a nickname for Goldberg. Jericho promising to beat Greenberg at Fall Brawl, and then beating Russ Greenberg, would have been a pointlessly fun moment.

28. Berzerker vs. Tito Santana - Superstars 11/13/91

Strange match, as Tito takes probably 70% of it, and overpowers Berzerker on several occasions. That's not what I was expecting at all. The first couple minutes see them lock up a few times, with Santana backing up Berzerker each time. On the fourth lock up Santana rushes in and Berzerker just drops to his knees, headbutting Santana in the dick. Awesome spot. But weird that the 320 lb guy had to use his speed and smarts to get the duke on Tito Santana. Santana overpowering Berzerker kind of continues throughout the match, with Santana reversing a couple of Irish whips. It's weird. Berzerker doesn't bump like crazy for Santana, the way he has for other stars. Santana does run into a big boot nicely though. Fuji tries to cheat to win by hooking Tito's ankle with the cane, and it genuinely doesn't seem like Tito expects the spot. He's running the ropes and Fuji hooks him, and Santana trips so hard that it yanks the cane out of Fuji's hands. Berzerker gets DQ'd, Tito beats him with the cane, and this was just a weird, unsatisfying match. Neither guy really wanted to take control, Tito works better as comeback babyface.

29. Berzerker, Skinner, Hercules & Col. Mustafa vs. Jim Duggan, Tito Santana, Sgt. Slaughter & Texas Tornado - WWF Survivor Series 11/27/91

I hadn't seen this match in years, probably since I rented the tape from the video store, so I first turned to the foremost authority on WWF star ratings, Scott Keith. Not only did he describe 6 of the participants as "jobbers" (odd, since Berzerker had only lost one match at this point and Duggan was always protected), but also called Slaughter a traitor and Von Erich a "suicidal drug addict". That's some level 7 edgelord shit right there. He didn't like the match, guys. But let me be the first to say, that Scott Keith may not be correct. First, pre match we get a wonderful gift, of Berzerker really being the only person enforcing his gimmick on the building, and the other wrestlers. All the heels come out together, but all the faces get individual entrances, and they kept cutting back to wide shots of the ring during these entrances, and Berzerker was just Hussing around, stomping all around the ring, figure 8ing around his teammates and his opponents; Just stomping and hussing and everybody in the ring was completely ignoring it. It's like when a guy hits a HR to break a slump, and the whole dugout ignores him. It was amazing. Gorilla has a great line before the bell, "I have little doubt in my mind who's coming out on top in this match." Fair statement. Skinner slaps Santana hard to start, then bumps fast for him, really selling a shove and going down to a snap headlock takedown. It also makes me laugh hard seeing Skinner do leapfrog/dropdown spots, for whatever reason. Skinner cuts low on a missed back elbow, and then bails so Santana misses a big crossbody, really crash and burned. Berzerker tags in and ridiculously goes for some sort of double stomp/leg drop on Tito, that misses. Kerry comes in and throws some bad punches that Berzerker no sells, and then Berzerker misses a dropkick. Berzerker missing offense is so much damn fun. I even dig the Hercules/Duggan shoulderblock and stompy punch exchange. Iron Sheik was pretty toast at this point (he even tags in and goes straight to a chinlock, come on) but he threw a cool double chop to Duggan's throat that someone should steal. Berzerker's apron work is tremendous, just hiking the length of the apron, back and forth, wandering into the wrong corner, occupying himself by untying a turnbuckle pad while Sheik is eliminated. THINK OF HOW SMART THAT IS!! Herc and Skinner just stood 8 feet away not saving Sheik from elimination, Berzerker meanwhile became the only heel I've seen logically kayfabe occupy himself during a pinfall, that didn't involve selling an injury. Amazing spot that was completely missed. Berzerker is really pulling his kicks this match, which is odd. But now that turnbuckle pad comes into play as he runs Slaughter into it. Man that undoing the pad stuff was so amazing in its placement in the match. I'm never going to get over this. Brilliant. Killer run where Berzerker brings back the splits bump off a Slaughter leg kick, then takes two insanely fast bumps over the top to the floor, really awesome bumps. The first is Duggan clotheslining him over the top, and Berzerker lands on his feet, charges right back in, and eats an insanely high backdrop bump to the floor on the other side. Santana has a nice hot tag opposite Hercules, even hits a kind of superman punch for the pin. Skinner eats a pin off a Slaughter blind tag roll up, and Berzerker is the last heel. He immediately charges in but misses a dropkick. The bumps on this guy! That turnbuckle pad comes back AGAIN when Slaughter gets revenge on him for it. Slaughter whips him into Duggan's clothesline to end it, with Berzerker taking a huge bump off the 3 point lariat. For a total throwaway, this was a really fun match, with Berzerker clearly working harder than anyone in the match. Not a great match, but a pretty great performance by him.

30. Berzerker vs. Kerry Von Erich - MSG 11/30/91

Weird short match with a botched finish (though not by either of the wrestlers). It only goes about 3 minutes, and is really good for those 3 minutes. Until the stupid finish I was thinking it had potential to be his best match so far, which is impressive with the Valentine and Hart matches. He hits a stiff boot on Kerry, gets clotheslined over the top and the backdropped over the other side, just like the Survivor Series match, then suckers KVE into a missed corner charge and yanks him to the floor. Berzerker gets his head bounced off the steps, and the a couple seconds later the bell rings. Fans boo, Vince has no clue what happened on commentary, the count out win is announced; but Berzerker was only on the floor 7 or 8 seconds, and the ref didn't even seem like he was counting. It felt like someone accidentally rang the bell and Finkel improvised. Really disappointing. (Match is around the 13 minute mark of the link)

31. Berzerker vs. Scott Baizo - Superstars 12/4/91

So this match tricked me, as the file had a 6 minute running time, but it turns out 4 minutes of that is interviews with Virgil, Repo Man and High Energy. So you come for the hilarious jobber name of Scott Baizo (I hope he at some point teamed up with another man, maybe a man working an Indian gimmick, named Chaw-Chee, and that their tag team name was Charles & Charge, and that 25 years later he became a shameless shit pile with the same asshole haircut he had when he was relevant, decades before) and you stay for the disgusting match finishing bump. Yes this is a Berzerker squash, with him hitting the flying shoulderblock, a nasty kneedrop to the chest, his big boots with opponent tied up in the ropes, and then the finish which is him throwing Baizo over the ropes to the floor, practically past the ringside mats. Gross fall. Berzerker pillages on.

32. Berzerker vs. Barbarian - December 1991

Before the match Berzerker throws a high kick at the black ring announcer I don't recognize, who goes scrambling out of the way, and I already love this. Two giant dudes beating each other while wearing fur loincloths and boots. This match. HAD. TO. HAPPEN. It's like a Manowar album shoot gone horribly, tragically wrong. This starts off great with Berzerker throwing an impossibly stiff thud of a chop and Barbarian hitting him in the throat. We get more of Berzerker's super fast rope running, his big flying shoulderblock, and awesome missed flying shoulderblock into the corner, a couple big boots from both men (Barbarian's landing right under the chin), Barbarian clearly showing Berzerker he wasn't going to gas out and could work just as fast, big clubbing arms, and two crazy looking dudes shouting at each other after a count out.

More Berzerker tomorrow!!


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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

73 Shockingly Great Berzerker Matches. #16 is Unnerving!

12. Berzerker vs. Larry Williams - Superstars 5/28/91

Larry Williams looks like sad John Oates. This was when he was still Larry Williams: Wrestler and Carpet Salesman, before he just became Larry Williams: Carpet Salesman (I assume). He has a full head of hair and a bushy mustache, but other than that he is uninteresting. Berzerker drops a big knee to the chest, and Larry weenies out by grabbing the top rope on his ride down to the floor. IMPORTANT: This was the first squash match that Berzerker did not do a plancha to the floor after victory.

13. Berzerker vs. Jerry Stevens - Wrestling Challenge 5/29/91

Jerry Stevens looks like a guy who needs a beating. Big ol' round head and Kenny G perm. And Berzerker just walks right up to him and thrust kicks him right to the chin. Stevens flips admirably. And then gets the falling slam as a reward for leaning into that boot. And then a second falling slam. Berzerker wanders around the ring throwing kicks, then launches Stevens over the top to the floor for the win. Stevens is the first guy to weenie out of the fall as he grabs the top rope on his way down. Celebrating the win, he rope runs a bunch and takes some back bumps.

Prime Time Wrestling 6/10/91:

Bobby Heenan: "I'm you're friend! He don't like you (pointing to Vince), but I do."
Mr. Fuji: " my Berzerker. Whatever master wants, he do for master. Right?"
Berzerker: That's right! Whatever Master Fuji wants, Master Fuji gets! If Master Fuji wants an eye out, he gets an eye out! If Master Fuji wants me to kick them upside the head, he gets it upside the head! Only Master Fuji controls me. He's my commai...commai...communication. And I'll tell you something else, you know I see all these pretty, tanned weight lifters around here, walking around [note: The WBF PPV was coming up and was being hyped all throughout this episode]. LISTEN! You can lay on those tanning beds, but I lay on icebergs. You know what I'm saying? You can do all that stuff. You can lift 600 pounds? Well I lift up MASTODONS! Huss! Huss! That's right, I lift up mastodons! I don't need weights! I'll fight 'em to the end, and me and Master Fuji won't be stopped. Because whatever Master Fuji wants, he gets. Huss! Huss!"
Vince: "Mr. Fuji you ummmm, you seem to know...oriental. You seem to know oriental culture. Why don't you uhhh tell us everything you know about vikings."
Mr. Fuji: "Let me tell you. This Berzerker has a lot of big horns, a lot of metal..."
Berzerker: Hey there's two types of people in this world! You're either a Berzerker, or you're one of the nameless rabble of victims!!" [note: a VIKING literally just cut a promo, correctly using the word "rabble"]


Vince: "We're back with more Prime Time, Bobby Brain, Mr. Fuji and uhhh the Berzerker!"
Fuji: "Nooooow it time, for traditional Viking ceremony."
Berzerker: "I LOVE IT! YES!"
Vince: "It looks like you brought some props with you I see over here..."
Fuji: "All we need now, is one intelligent person, from audience."
Heenan: "You need somebody from the audience? Hey, Jamison!
(Berzerker yanks Jamison out of the crowd by his suit lapels and drags him to the floor)
Heenan: "Well, this is going to be fun."
Vince: "Hey what are you guys doing here?"
(Berzerker begins tying Jamison to a wood stake)
Vince: "What is a traditional Viking ceremony?"
Heenan: Well uh, he ties him to a stake it looks like, and uh..."
Vince: Mr. Fuji explain this traditional Viking ceremony."
Fuji: "Now you all see what Berzerker is all about!"
Vince: "This Viking ritual will continue, but for now let's watch some IRS!"


(we return to the studio with Jamison completely tied, tightly, to the stake and Berzerker spreading out hay all around the stake, while rubbing two sticks together)
Vince: "Hey this is no joke here, what are you trying to do light a fire?"
Heenan: "Here, you need this (hands Fuji a lighter)
(Berzerker can't figure out how to use the lighter, gets upset and starts kicking the hay around everywhere, then lifts Jamison over his shoulder and walks out of the studio with him still tied to the stake)


(much later in the show, we return to the studio)
Vince: (looking off camera) "Speaking uh, have the Berzerker? We have found the Berzerker and I think uhhhh I think Jamison is with the Berzerker. Earlier on he was uhhh...they're up on the roof!"

(We then cut to a clip of Berzerker running across a roof, with Jamison still tied to a stake and over his shoulder, and Berzerker throws Jamison off the roof! They cut back to the studio immediately and Vince is doing his wide eyed gulp face. Heenan is making the same face.)
Vince: "Folks I don't know about that one. Uhhhhhh, we'll take a break. I don't know about that one at all. I think he got a little carried away."

(Jamison is shown being pushed through a hallway on a stretcher, with Sean Mooney chasing after him with a mic)
Mooney: "Well by a twisted turn of fate, after the Berzerker tossed Jamison off the roof, he landed in a dumpster, and that seems to be exactly what saved his life. Jamison, are you hurt?"
Jamison: (screams, boxes tip over and fall onto him while he's on the stretcher)
Mooney: "It looks like he may get more hurt on the way to the hospital! That's all I know right now, Vince, let's get back to you."

14. Berzerker vs. Jimmy Snuka - MSG 7/1/91

A viking versus an actual murderer! Two murderers from two completely different parts of history. Wow. And the match is fun! Snuka has pretty lousy offense at this point, but he sees Berzerker bumping around for him and decides to have a bump off. It starts with Berzerker taking his big backwards bump to the floor off a clothesline, and back in the ring Snuka eats a big boot, then literally runs across the ring holding his face, and leaps over the top to the floor, catching his neck on the bottom rope on his way down. What? Snuka doesn't make for a very interesting "name" opponent, as his offense isn't very plausible against Berzerker, and he doesn't seem down to take some of Berzerker's nastier moves. The finish is Snuka hitting a crossbody, but Berzerker rolls through and gets the pin. So his finisher against jobbers is tossing them to the floor for a count out, but we've now seen him with with a reversed crossbody and knee drop off the middle against names. VIKING advances in the bracket of historical murderers.

15. Berzerker vs. Chi Chi Cruz - Superstars 7/9/91

Oh wow Chi Chi Cruz is all hair metal'd out, zebra tights and flowing teased mane, glittery kimono. He looks like a touring keyboardist for Enuff Z'Nuff. Chi Chi could take this one. He, however, did not take this one. He eats a chokeslam and a falling powerslam, and takes one of the more impressive throws to the floor. This is three squashes in a row that he did not do his awesome plancha to the floor after the win, so I'm afraid it's been eliminated from his repertoire at this point. IMPORTANT: This was the debut of Berzerker's brown tunic, which has a better cut (looks less like a dress with the belt off) and is a more appropriate color scheme than his sapphire tunic.

16. Berzerker vs. Greg Valentine - Prime Time Wrestling 7/15/91

The match that started this whole project and made me want to seek out ALL of the Berzerker. And this is all weird and awesome and just makes me happy that it happened. We get babyface Greg Valentine, which is a thing that hardly happened in his career, and something I didn't realize ever happened in WWF. Even in the pre-match graphic he's just presented as "The Hammer" like he's some Fred Williamson cult icon who the fans have always cheered. And they really do cheer for Valentine in this, a lot! Berzerker starts things great by launching himself at Valentine with his nice horizontal flying shoulderblock, but Valentine moves and Berzerker flies perfectly horizontal straight into the turnbuckles. Just a perfect straight line. And from there we get some no nonsense stiff chops from Valentine, Berzerker throwing some big ones back, Valentine taking his trademark face first bumps (that doesn't work whatsoever as a babyface, but oh well) and then more Berzerker bump freak glory as Valentine starts kicking his legs out, and Berzerker starts hopping in amusing ways as Valentine throws leg kicks, and then unexpectedly Berzerker lands in the splits after one of the hops, like a giant Viking James Brown (white James Brown would be called Jim White, perhaps?). We get more of Berzerker's awesome trademark bumps that I didn't use to realize were trademark bumps, like his super fast bump to the floor when getting clotheslines over the top. It's a real impressive bump as he's so large, and so hirsute, that you just see hair and beard and fur boots flying violently to the floor. And that's how this goes. Most Berzerker matches end in a count out because he throws his opponent to the floor, here Valentine goes after Fuji and Berzerker gives chase, eventually smacking Valentine with Fuji's cane. Before that it looked like Valentine was actually going over clean, which would have been Berzerker's first televised loss. Berzerker had missed a big boot and crotched himself on the top rope, Valentine dropped a couple of beautiful elbows and set up the figure 4, before Fuji distracted him. This was just the super fun pinnacle of wild bumps, stiff strikes and overall ridiculousness. And it showed that while I love Berzerker's offense (shame he doesn't often use the cravate he used a bunch in this match), he seems to be at his best working underneath for a fired up babyface. The more unhinged side comes out when his opponent is actually good at fighting back. What a cool little discovery.

17. Berzerker vs. Dave Millison - Superstars 7/29/91

Dave Millison bums me out. He's a pudgy ginger in a navy singlet, with voluminous tight curls, like Weird Al in UHF. Just a pasty, chubby ginger Weird Al. A quick google search pulls up a registered child molester named Dave Millison, who HONESTLY could be the same guy. Flash forward 20 years, give him more of a Chuck Liddell this is close. This taping was in Massachusetts and this guy is registered in Texas...but man this looks like it could be the guy. STYLE BATTLE: Viking vs. Child Molester!! And the registered sex offender doesn't put up much of a fight. He does a nice faceplant bump after a big boot, falling forward with his arms at his sides. I assume he gets distracted by a young boy in the front row wearing an amazing Kerry Von Erich ringer tee, as Berzerker lifts and tosses Millison to the floor. Millison holds onto that top rope more than anybody so far, and the jokes on him because it completely throws off what would have been a clean landing, and instead lands him right on his knee, which he then immediately clutches.

18. Berzerker vs. Ken Johnson - Wrestling Challenge 8/4/91

Killer tracking problem on this link. Super glad this guy decided to fight the good fight and take the time to upload it anyway. The world needed this ONLY documentation of THEE Ken Johnson taking on the Berzerker. And it's kind of worth it. Johnson gets absurd height on the chokeslam, the powerslams are both crazy, and he takes a nasty bump on his knee/hip to the floor. You couldn't really see what he looked like in the face due to the video quality, but Berzerker does not study their faces either. He understands they are just faceless victims, obstacles that get in the way of his pillaging. Video quality matters not, to the Berzerker.

19. Berzerker vs. Kerry Davis - Superstars 8/19/91

Davis has DayGlo green tights with purple snaking around the knees and pristine white boots. He looks like Jamie Dundee with a gorgeous mullet. His long silky dirty blonde locks cascade past his shoulders, as he tells his barber to do the rest of his hair on the "4" setting. He instructs the barber to do this while admiring his slender handlebar mustache in the mirror, noticing that the mustache does not connect somewhere around the corners of his mouth, for he cannot grow a proper mustache. Berzerker honors his successes and failings by doing a front kick right to his chin, dropping him with a powerslam, hitting a knee off the middle rope, and tossing him to the floor, landing him right on his hip. Kerry Davis, it would seem, never had any sort of chance. Not in this match, not in this life.

20. Berzerker vs. Ron Cumberledge - Wrestling Challenge 8/20/91

Cumberledge, much like Russ Greenberg later on, is a man with a great build, bubblegum pink tights, who seemed to get no shot whatsoever. Cumberledge has some good size, and has the "look" Vince adores, so no idea why he went nowhere. He didn't stand out much against Berzerker, but he didn't sandbag him at all. Berzerker tries a couple new things we haven't seen him do, a big splash off the middle rope and a grounded choke, and Cumberledge takes a mean spill after getting chucked to the floor. Anybody have info on this guy?

"I'm the guy that only Master Fuji controls! I'm the guy who breaks bones! I'm the guy who's gonna get his hands on ya! I'm the Berzerker! Huss! Huss!" ~The Berzerker

21. Berzerker vs. Scott Taylor - Superstars 9/9/91

It's weird watching this and thinking "who was a bigger star 7 years later?" And you have one guy almost completely out of wrestling, and the other beginning a gimmick that would keep him in indie bookings through present day. Yep, Scott Taylor has now officially had a career longer than John Nord's. By a decade. Taylor looks like a young Shawn Michaels here, and bumps admirably for Berzerker. He goes down hard from a huge chop, leans face first into a thrust kick, gets big air on a chokeslam, nice spill getting thrown to the floor; Berzerker held him up for the falling powerslam far longer than he holds most guys, then gives him another.

"My favorite time of year is Fall. It's a greeeaaaat season, especially for Berzerker. His opponents will fall, one by one IN DEFEAT!" ~Mr. Fuji

22. Berzerker vs. Bill Pierce - Wrestling Challenge 9/10/91

Pierce is Chris Michaels, quality pro wrestler who never really went anywhere. Here he takes a bunch of rapid back bumps for Berzerker, and takes a nice spill into the guardrail after getting tossed to the floor. Berzerker does a great thrust kick, and brings back his nice high legdrop (two of them!) that he hasn't used in several months. However, I've noticed these last few matches that he no longer ties his opponent up in the ropes and boots them in the face. He now ties them in the ropes and kicks them in the chest. It's not a major difference, but I wonder what happened. It's possible somebody that he booted right under the chin complained. I wonder why he stopped doing the planchas. Safety? Because they were hard on his frame? So many questions.

More Tomorrow!


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Monday, February 20, 2017

73 Shockingly Great Berzerker Matches. #54 Will Leave You Speechless!

1. The Viking vs. Tommy Landell - Superstars 1/28/91

"I'm the guy who's gonna get his hands on ya! I'm the guy who's gonna know exactly what to do when he gets his hands on ya! I'm the guy who's gonna conquer the WWF and won't be stopped! I'm the Viking!! Huss! Huss! Huss!" ~The Berzerker

The big Superstars debut, with Nord merely referred to as The Viking, billed from Iceland. Amusingly, he gets a cut screen promo and essentially cuts a promo exactly like Jim Duggan. "I'm the guy who's going to beat you up with my fists!" In 1991 I only knew of Iceland because of Carmen San Diego, but I don't think I pictured their people as a large screaming white man with a Midwest accent threatening a beating. Viking has a pretty awesome debut as he certainly acted like no other wrestler. He quickly boots Landell in the stomach and drops him with a powerslam, then runs the ropes really fast and starts doing back bumps. He drops a big knee, ties Landell in the ropes and then does a brutal running high kick to Landell's chin, then whips him hard into the mat with a front vertical suplex. After, he hits his finisher, which is picking up a man and throwing him over the top rope to the floor, to win by countout. Then he runs the ropes even more, really fast. And then, completely unexpectedly, he hits a freaking plancha on Landell, while Landell hasn't even gotten to his feet!! Nord is a huge guy, and he just launched himself over the top to the floor, essentially splashing a recumbent Landell. Tons of people in the crowd noticeably jump out of their seat, understandably so. I don't think anybody was expecting to see that. Pretty excellent start to our Berzerker love fest.

2. The Viking vs. David Isley - Wrestling Challenge 1/29/91

A pretty by the books Viking match, against owner of a Tarheels starter jacket David Isley. Isley got off a little easier than Landell, but Viking still hit a super high dropkick, awesome falling front slam, big front suplex, and got chucked to the floor. AND, he did his crazy plancha AGAIN! I've never seen this. It's like Super Calo's rolling senton to the floor, except a giant 300+ pound man is just doing a plancha splash while his opponent is lying on the mats. It's insane. He lands in a half splash/half kneedrop, just a pillaging lunatic flinging himself way down onto his opponent. It's a crazy spot for anybody, let alone a man of this size. The next year, Isley did an All Japan tour.

"Mr. Fuji go faaaar and wide, and look what I found: The Viking! So vicious, so rugged, so devious, and only I, Mr. Fuji, can control him" ~Mr. Fuji

3. The Viking vs. Danny Brazil - Superstars 2/18/91

Dude, Dan Brazil. Who. Are. You. This ain't his first rodeo, and he looks a lot like Dennis Stamp. A little grimy, and he leaps out of the way of Viking's dropkick, but makes up for it by standing up to three running big boots. He tosses Brazil to the floor, and after he's counted up he does his plancha kneedrop right to Brazil's chest. "Well, that'll end a career," Roddy Piper says nonchalantly.

"Only I can control the Viking. Who is the most cruelest, meanest and wildest wrestler in the WWF? I will turn him loose on EVERYbody!" ~Mr. Fuji

4. The Viking vs. Brian Costello - Wrestling Challenge 2/19/91

Viking tries a couple new things here, mainly a huge flying shoulderblock, coming in fully horizontal at Costello's head. He does his great falling front slam, ties Costello in the ropes and delivers two big boots (except Costello is short, and usually Viking gets the boot under their chin so they spring back and forth in the ropes. Here he just clonks Costello in the forehead a couple times and Costello doesn't move a lot). He tosses him to the floor for the count out win, then does an awesome kneedrop plancha to his gut. The kneedrop plancha will never not be awesome. In 1994 Costello would get to go on a tour of All Japan, even teaming up a few times with some guy named John Nord.

"Berzerker make Mr. Fuji VERY proud. He a little crazy, like Mr. Fuji, and make opponents suffer hahaha." ~Mr. Fuji

5. Berzerker vs. Jim Kolhep - Superstars 3/26/91

This starts with Berzerker throwing a lariat at the back of Kolhep's head, then bulldozing him around with 3 JYD headbutts. Berzerker throws a big boot to Kolhep's chest, takes a couple back bumps, then plants him with that front slam, twice! Kolhep takes a nasty spill, getting tossed to the floor almost past the mats into the entrance way. Berzerker makes up the difference by just crashing into him off the plancha shoulder/side first. He landed flush on Kolhep and then HUSS'd off into the good night.

6. Berzerker vs. John Allen - Prime Time Wrestling 3/26/91

Allen is a bigger guy and takes some great flop bumps. And this is really go go go and a high end squash. Berzerker delivers two falling front slams, super high dropkick, tons of big boots, does a fabulous JYD headbutt to Allen's ribs (and he really didn't hold back on it, just flew into him head first without pulling it), and really boots Allen under the chin a couple times while tied in the ropes. Allen was a good sport here. And after the match Berzerker does his best (so far) plancha to the floor, just splatting a prone Allen.

7. Berzerker vs. Dan Robbins - Superstars 4/15/91

Dan Robbins looked like an early 20s version of a kid roaming around a trailer park with a Koolaid mustache. He's got a 1991 John Daly style chopped blonde mullet, but with a full dark brown beard, and a couple high bicep tattoos that don't look like much of anything, but you know they weren't well thought out. He's also a crummy bumper, taking things rigid and not believable. Berzerker hits a great over the shoulder powerslam, and does what looks like a shoot biel, as Robbins doesn't help him at all and it looks like Berzerker just picking up and throwing the guy. Robbins does get tossed to the floor nicely, and Berzerker does an awesome rolling knee drop plancha.

8. Berzerker vs. Randy Fox - Wrestling Challenge 4/16/91

Fox is a lean and muscular guy with a great head of hair on him, looking like same-period Steve Vai. And Berzerker must despise guitar histrionics as he charges hard at Fox and just headbutts him in the stomach, pushing Fox all the way into the buckles with just his head. I've never seen that before. He just treated Fox like a tackling dummy, and then tackled him with his damn head. Then kicked him in the face. Huge chokeslam, then he violently ties Fox in the ropes and clonks him with a couple boots (begging his master Fuji to let him do a second one). Fox gets tossed to the floor and bounces around off the guardrail in comical floppy ways. Berzerker does a slingshot bombs away from the ring to the floor, then does a couple back bumps back in the ring. Poor Randy Fox.

9. Berzerker vs. British Bulldog - UK Rampage 4/24/91

This was a shockingly long and shockingly Berzerker-dominated match. This match goes 16 minutes!  That's an awful lot of time, and much of it is spent with Berzerker in control, totally dominating Smith. Smith would get occasional hope spots but they would mostly get shut down, almost immediately. Berzerker hadn't been in WWF very long at this point, and hadn't had any televised matches against "name talent", so it's surprising they'd let him have a 16 minute match against Smith, who I imagine was one of the big draws on this show. That's a big position for him to be put in. But maybe they knew something nobody else knew, as he was awesome here. The first thing that jumps out is just how massive he is, really towering over Bulldog. And the whole match is just Berzerker crushing Bulldog, hitting shoulderblocks, legdrops, locking him in a nice cravate, big bearhug, booting him in the face, hitting a couple powerslams, etc. He also showed how huge a bumper he was, taking three separate, increasingly crazy bumps to the floor. The first was off a clothesline and was his trademark fast flip back over the ropes and landing feet first on the floor. I'm still blown away by this bump as I've never seen a guy his size take it this way, this quickly, this wildly. He did another one later that was even faster. But his craziest bump comes when he ties Bulldog up in the ropes, doing his trademark big boots to a trapped opponent. He hits a couple, comes running in really fast for another, Davey Boy moves and Berzerker misses a high speed running boot over the top to the floor. Absolutely insane spot. Later he takes a mammoth backdrop bump, getting more height than maybe anybody I've seen, as if he was Zach Gowen getting launched by Brock Lesnar. Just crazy. Berzerker even hits an all time great piledriver, letting Bulldog think about it for a long time and just planting him. A truly great piledriver. So the match had plenty of great moments, and Berzerker looked really great, but there really wasn't enough drama to justify the long run time. For dominating as long as he did, Berzerker never really got any convincing nearfalls. And while he fed into Davey Boy's end of match comeback nicely (loved the missed shoulderblock into the buckles to set up a powerslam), it did feel that after a while they were just killing time - a lot of time - until Davey Boy's inevitable comeback. Still, I love that they trusted him to go out there and give them 16 minutes, and considering how little Bulldog did it was a pretty impressive time fill.

10. Berzerker vs. Jim Powers - Prime Time Wrestling 4/30/91

Powers gets a full entrance and sprints to the ring, surely wanting his beating to be done quicker. Berzerker does little frog hops around the ring and does shadow karate. He hits a big boot and bigger leg drop (surprised they let someone the same size as Hogan use a legdrop as just a throwaway move), then starts working over Powers' knee with JYD headbutts!!!! That is awesome!! Just headbutting Powers right in the hammy. He whips Powers into the ropes and catches a Powers crossbody with a chokeslam! Just yanked him out of the air and dropped to his knee with a chokeslam. So awesome. Powers tries dropkicking Berzerker in the knee, but aims too low and just looks like he slid terribly into 3rd. Berzerker covers for him by just kneedropping him. Powers goes for a crossbody, gets caught again, this time with the falling front slam. IMPORTANT: Berzerker wins the first match I've seen of his by pinfall, after hitting a killer kneedrop from the middle rope. History, right there.

"I'm going to turn him loose on EVERYbody in the World Wrestling Federation! HAhahahaha!" ~Mr. Fuji

11. Berzerker vs. Gary Jensen - Superstars 5/6/91

One of the least notable Berzerker matches so far. Jensen has a hard time staying on his feet, really staying down selling far too long. Berzerker clubs him, Jensen stays down for 15 seconds, so Berzerker frog hops around the ring. He hits a killer powerslam and does then bombs away plancha, and Jensen takes a decent bump off the toss to the floor, but this was low end on the Berzerker squash totem.

More tomorrow!!


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Complete and Accurate Berzerker

John Nord is not a man whom many of us think about. He is not a guy who lingers very often in our thoughts. My friend Mike from middle school hated Berzerker because his finishing move was "throw a guy to the floor and let him get counted out", which I suppose is the G rated Saturday morning TV version of "raping an entire village and leaving it a burning, trampled husk". A different friend was convinced Berzerker was going to win the Royal Rumble BECAUSE his finisher was throwing a guy to the floor to get counted out. The Rumble match was practically MADE for The Berzerker! Not long ago Matt alerted the world to a strange and phenomenal TV match against Greg Valentine, with Nord working as ultra high stamina bump freak, and it made me want MORE. I truly went berserk for the Berzerker. The problem is that Berzerker never got much of a run, despite being around WWF for 2+ years. He was kept relatively strong, but was never actually pushed as a title contender despite only getting pinned a couple times on TV. It's weird to be in WWF for 2+ years, rarely get pinned, but only make it onto 3 PPVs, and never in a singles match (he was in the '92 and '93 Rumble, and on a team at the '91 Survivor Series). This obviously seems like the best time to watch and write up every single match John Nord ever had....from the Berzerker to the end of his career. Maybe some day I'll go back and watch all of the Yukon John and Barbarian stuff I can find. But for now we're going to infinity and Berzerk. Much like the Norse warriors he was named after, let's get into a trance while leaving a wake of bodies in our path. Let us all enjoy, or perhaps...take a Viking to...the Berzerker.


~The Viking vs. Tommy Landell (WWF Superstars 1/28) - VERY GOOD
~The Viking vs. David Isley (WWF Wrestling Challenge 1/29) - FUN
~The Viking vs. Danny Brazil (WWF Superstars 2/18) - FUN
~The Viking vs. Brian Costello (WWF Wrestling Challenge 2/19) - FUN
~Berzerker vs. Jim Kolhep (WWF Superstars 3/26) - VERY GOOD
~Berzerker vs. John Allen (WWF Prime Time Wrestling 3/26) - VERY GOOD
~Berzerker vs. Dan Robbins (WWF Superstars 4/15) - FUN
~Berzerker vs. Randy Fox (WWF Wrestling Challenge 4/16) - VERY GOOD
~Berzerker vs. British Bulldog (WWF UK Rampage 4/24) - GREAT
~Berzerker vs. Jim Powers (WWF Prime Time Wrestling 4/30) - VERY GOOD
~Berzerker vs. Gary Jensen (WWF Superstars 5/6) - SKIPPABLE
~Berzerker vs. Larry Williams (WWF Superstars 5/28) - SKIPPABLE
~Berzerker vs. Jerry Stevens (WWF Wrestling Challenge 5/29) - FUN
~Berzerker vs. Jimmy Snuka (WWF MSG 7/1) - VERY GOOD
~Berzerker vs. Chi Chi Cruz (WWF Superstars 7/9) - FUN
~Berzerker vs. Greg Valentine (WWF Prime Time Wrestling 7/15) - EPIC
~Berzerker vs. Koko B. Ware (WWF 7/21) - VERY GOOD
~Berzerker vs. Dave Millison (WWF Superstars 7/29) - FUN
~Berzerker vs. Ken Johnson (WWF Wrestling Challenge 8/4) - SKIPPABLE
~Berzerker vs. Kerry Davis (WWF Superstars 8/19) - FUN
~Berzerker vs. Ron Cumberledge (WWF Wrestling Challenge 8/20) - FUN
~Berzerker vs. Scott Taylor (WWF Superstars 9/9) - FUN
~Berzerker vs. Bill Pierce (WWF Wrestling Challenge 9/10) - FUN
~Berzerker vs. Bob Smedley (WWF Prime Time 10/1) - FUN
~Berzerker vs. Eric Freedom (WWF Superstars 10/21) - FUN
~Berzerker vs. Bret Hart (WWF MSG 10/28) - EPIC
~Berzerker vs. Fred Morgan (WWF 11/91) - FUN
~Berzerker vs. Russ Greenberg (WWF Wrestling Challenge 11/12) - FUN
~Berzerker vs. Tito Santana (WWF Superstars 11/13) - FUN
~Berzerker/Skinner/Hercules/Col. Mustafa vs. Jim Duggan/Tito Santana/Sgt. Slaughter/Kerry Von Erich (WWF Survivor Series 11/27) - GREAT
~Berzerker vs. Kerry Von Erich (WWF MSG 11/30) - FUN
~Berzerker vs. Scott Baizo (WWF Superstars 12/4) - FUN
~Berzerker vs. Barbarian (WWF 12/91) - GREAT
~Berzerker vs. British Bulldog (WWF MSG 12/29) - EPIC


~Berzerker/Shawn Michaels vs. Kendo Nagasaki/Kinichi Oya (SWS 1/6) - EPIC
~Berzerker vs. Fumihiro Niikura (SWS 1/8) - FUN
~The Royal Rumble Match (WWF Royal Rumble 1/19) - EPIC
~Berzerker vs. Big Boss Man (WWF Prime Time 2/17) - GREAT
~Berzerker vs. Randy Savage (WWF Battle of the Superstars 2/18) - VERY GOOD
~Berzerker vs. Jim Brunzell (WWF MSG 2/23) - FUN
~20 Man Battle Royal (WWF MSG 2/23) - FUN
~Berzerker vs. Don Richter (WWF Prime Time Wrestling 2/24) - FUN
~Berzerker vs. Mark Roberts (WWF Superstars 4/8) - FUN
~Berzerker vs. Undertaker (WWF Superstars 4/25) - GREAT
~Berzerker vs. Scott Taylor (WWF Superstars 4/29) - FUN
~Berzerker vs. Glen Ruth (WWF Superstars 4/29) - FUN
~Berzerker/King Haku/Guerrero del Futuro vs. Genichiro Tenryu/Ashura Hara/Ultimo Dragon (SWS 5/20) - GREAT
~Berzerker vs. Bruce Mitchell (WWF Superstars 6/1) - SKIPPABLE
~40 Man Battle Royal (WWF Prime Time Wrestling 7/6) - EPIC
~Berzerker/Papa Shango vs. Ultimate Warrior/Undertaker (WWF 7/12) - VERY GOOD
~Berzerker vs. Jason Knight (WWF Superstars 7/20) - FUN
~Berzerker/Ric Flair vs. Undertaker/Randy Savage (WWF 7/21) - VERY GOOD
~Berzerker vs. Tatanka (WWF Summerslam 8/29) - VERY GOOD
~Berzerker vs. Bret Hart (WWF Wrestling Challenge 10/13) - FUN
~Berzerker vs. Buck Zumhofe (WWF 10/26) - FUN
~Berzerker vs. John Paul (WWF Wrestling Challenge 11/22) - FUN
~Berzerker vs. Crush (WWF Smack 'Em Whack 'Em 11/23) - GREAT
~Berzerker vs. Mr. Perfect (WWF Superstars 12/14) - GREAT
~Berzerker vs. Virgil (WWF UK Fan Favorites (12/15) - VERY GOOD


~Berzerker vs. Bobby Perez (WWF 1/4) - FUN
~Berzerker vs. Bob Backlund (WWF 1/8) - VERY GOOD
~The Royal Rumble Match (WWF Royal Rumble 1/25) - VERY GOOD
~16 Man Battle Royal (WWF Raw 2/15) - FUN


~19 Man Battle Royal (AJPW 1/2) - GREAT
~John Nord/Stan Hansen/Johnny Gunn vs. Kenta Kobashi/Jun Akiyama/Mitsuharu Misawa (AJPW 1/2) - VERY GOOD
~John Nord/Stan Hansen vs. Mark & Chris Youngblood (AJPW 1/7) - GREAT
~John Nord/Stan Hansen vs. Akira Taue/Toshiaki Kawada (AJPW 1/12) - GREAT
~John Nord/Stan Hansen/Brian Costello vs. Steve Williams/Richard Slinger/Johnny Gunn (AJPW 1/20) - VERY GOOD
~John Nord/Stan Hansen/Brian Costello vs. Akira Taue/Toshiaki Kawada/Takao Omori (AJPW 1/25) - VERY GOOD
~John Nord/Stan Hansen vs. Dr. Death/Johnny Ace (AJPW 1/29/94) - GREAT
~John Nord/Stan Hansen vs. Johnny Ace/The Patriot (AJPW 2/19/94) - VERY GOOD
~John Nord/Stan Hansen/Rob Van Dam vs. Kenta Kobashi/Mitsuharu Misawa/Jun Akiyama (AJPW 2/24/94) - VERY GOOD

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