Segunda Caida

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

Friday, February 03, 2017

Finlay is Buggered to Damnation

Fit Finlay v. Lord Steven Regal WCW 12/20/97- GREAT

PAS: This was long after their big feud, but you have to love these guys seeing their name on a call sheet for a five minute WCW Pro match where the announcers are going to talk about Larry Zybsko v. Bischoff the whole time and deciding to go out there and have a Finlay v. Regal match. It has all the uncalled for violence this matchup promises, forearms right to the mouth, knees to the temple, elbows to the throat. Not really any near falls, just a pile of violence, Regal gets a flash pin, but that felt more like a pause then an ending, like these two just went into the back and continued fighting all the way to the Orlando Days Inn they were staying at.

ER: I tend to dislike how these two matched up, but on rare occasion they would get inspired and actually work a semi decent match. Seriously though this is one of my absolute favorite Regal performances. Finlay is a constant, one of the most consistent match to match performers in wrestling history. Regal was a little more in the weeds during this part of his career, dealing with personal problems. But he was monstrous here. His palm strikes and shots in the corner were insane! Finlay grabs a chinlock and Regal gets out of it by just palm striking Finlay's nose a couple times, rushing in and catching Finlay under the chin with a dropkick after Finlay gets tossed into the buckles, and throwing beastly uppercuts. You don't normally see Finlay get outstiffed by his opponent, but this match was it.

Fit Finlay v. Bret Hart WCW 7/13/98- GREAT

PAS: Finlay is really great at these short WCW television matches. He sets a relentless punishing pace and basically drags his opponent along with him. This had to be a relatively disheartening time in Bret Hart's career, couldn't blame him for dogging it on a throw away Nitro match, but Finlay is having none of it. When Hart sinks in a chinlock, Finlay starts squirming and countering, when Hart goes into his stock offense, Finlay fires back with a shot or a counter. He hits Hart with shots and makes him fire back with some mustard, and this match gets pretty damn exciting, I especially loved the fight over the sharpshooter, with Finlay grasping for the ropes and Hart ripping him off and really sinking it in.  Really fun discovery, and it makes me want to seek out all of the Finlay TV stuff and see what other ignored gems there are.

ER: Not sure what match Phil was watching as Bret Hart looked totally awesome in this match, and Finlay was the one who used a chinlock, not Hart. Hart definitely did not dog it in this one, he went right after Finlay and hit all sorts of great worked shots, backing him into the corner and landing nice body shots, and a killer leverage choke, just palming Finlay's throat while looking like he was leaning all the way into it. He drags him out and hits a beautiful headbutt and then Finlay starts firing back. These two went right at it the whole time. Finlay is an all time favorite of mine and I couldn't say he looked definitively better than Bret in this. I didn't think Hart came off disheartened in this match, I thought he came off pissed. And yeah, he really did have reason to be pissed. He went from being one of the hottest acts in wrestling in November, to being some guy in the nWo a few months later. And that aggression really came out against Finlay. Fit is awesome as always, stomping hands, hitting two short arm lariats, dropping a great knee, you know, being Finlay. Both guys have no problem running into the other's offense: Finlay makes a Hart backbreaker look crippling, Hart runs jaw first into a corner boot and sells a nasty uppercut better than most wrestlers could ever dream of selling. These two squeeze as much as you possibly can into 4 minutes, and while I've already seen all of the Finlay WCW stuff, now I want to go looking for WCW Bret hidden gems.

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