Segunda Caida

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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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