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Thursday, March 09, 2017

Berzerker Tried Blue Apron. What Happened Next Will SHOCK You!

48. Berzerker vs. Koko B. Ware - WWF 7/21/91

I had been trying to do this Berzerker project chronologically, but I was hoping there would be matches I hadn't noticed, or didn't know existed, that would crop up after I had "passed" them. So far, this is the only one, but it was one I was hoping made tape. Apparently this match only aired on a Canadian TV broadcast. It was taped in Canada, but this could also mean that WWF thought Vikings may have also come from Canada so were targeting that market. Or, they were targeting the niche Canadian POC ornithologist market. That market can be tough to crack, but they SPEND. Koko really wasn't getting TV singles matches at this point, and it's kind of a wonder he stuck on the roster long enough to land in High Energy the next year. If you look at what he was up to during '91, you would have expected him to be released at some point. But this match is super fun. Berzerker cared not about card placement when he worked guys, and Koko gets a good run during this, while Berzerker breaks out some things I haven't seen in any other match of his. Berzerker was pretty generous in this one (a running theme we've now seen a lot), doing his crazy bump to the floor off a Koko dropkick, and letting Koko get in his cool missile dropkick where he lands on his feet (which still feels like a wild spot to me), and he worked in the splits bump (even though it took them longer to get on the same page, as Koko kept kicking at the wrong time. You gotta kick in a leg sweep way, and Koko didn't seem to be getting it). But Berzerker put a pretty good mauling on Koko, showing off with his own high dropkick, locked on an absolutely brutal cravate, and won with a disgusting hotshot that really should have been his regular finisher. His cravate is rarely used but always looks awesome, and this one is probably the best one he ever did. One hand is smothering Koko's mouth while the top hand is twisting and pressing down, looks like something surly Kawada would do to a young punk. The cravate should have been a regular part of his moveset, with him twisting that head and HUSSing. And the hotshot? Forget about it. Koko died. Berzerker caught him in a bearhug and just fell backwards into the ropes, and I'm surprised all three ropes didn't just snap under the weight of Koko's neck being forced down through them. The bump was so brutal, that Koko disappeared, only to emerge months later as a sudden fan of baggy, checkered chiffon genie pants. Sad.

49. 40 Man Battle Royal - WWF Prime Time Wrestling 7/6/92

The situation in my own life, surrounding this match, could not have been any better, and I don't actually think it's possible for anybody else to enjoy it as much as I did. The stars aligned perfectly. I had several friends over, we had been playing video games, having drinks, eating snacks, some of us had special cookies, and the mood was fun. My pal Josh said he was in the mood for some 1992 WWF Prime Time. You know, that thing when your friend requests to watch syndicated 1992 professional wrestling? That thing. That may seem like an odd mood to be in, to some of you, but that mood is a familiar one for Josh. He adores 1991-1993 WWF/WCW. In fact, this Berzerker project lines up pretty exactly with his Liam Neeson-like specific set of skills. So yeah, the mood in the room was perfect. We each made our predictions, Tim chose Bulldog, Josh chose Bret, Charlie chose the Nasty Boys, and I naturally put my money where my mouth was and bet on Berzerker to take it all...

It's a short battle royal, just 10 minutes or so, but it's so good!! Not only does Berzerker win, but he puts in an amazing battle royal performance. What is second most notable, is that this is probably the best WWF performance from Skinner Steve Keirn (I should watch the Bret singles match as it's been literal decades since I've seen it). Now, half the entrants in this are jobbers, and they're all the first to go. Berzerker stays on the floor while the ring was full, and stomps around tearing up and eating signs from fans while 39 other guys are fighting in the ring. The first elimination is Berzerker just reaching up from the floor and pulling a jobber out over the top, then kicking his ass into the aisles. Kerry Von Erich then spends a minute hip tossing a half dozen other jobbers over the top, and Berzerker just waits on the floor to stomp on them right after they get eliminated! So everyone is still in the ring, and Berzerker is just meanly stomping eliminated jobbers in the back of the head and chopping them down the aisle. Once others start getting eliminated you notice how nasty some of the eliminations are: Kato takes a huge backdrop to elimination; the Beverly Brothers sacrifice themselves just to take out Bret, looking like they are shoot eliminating him as they yank hard on his legs and violently tug him to the floor; Berzerker gives Koko a mammoth backdrop to the floor to eliminate him. But then shit gets REAL when it's down to Skinner, Berzerker, Bulldog and Kerry Von Erich. Skinner does a sick eye rake on Bulldog and Skinner/Berzerker team up to try to eliminate him, while KVE tries to pull Bulldog back in. Berzerker and KVE pull each other away and start going at it, leaving Skinner to eliminate Bulldog on his own. And this elimination HAS TO BE the crown jewel of Steve Keirn's WWF stint. Bulldog is desperately hanging on, and Skinner stomps the shit out of him, then holds on to the top rope with both hands to get leverage to push Bulldog out with his legs. Bulldog looks like he's legit trying to hold on but Skinner gets to just dominate him to the floor. The entire room flipped out over that one. Shit was real. How tremendous is a final 3 of Berzerker, KVE and Skinner!?!? KVE valiantly fights them off, but Berzerker and Skinner attack with eye rakes and back rakes!! Skinner throws tons of stiff clubbing shots to KVE, really soaking in this final 3 appearance. KVE ducks a shot and Berzerker almost accidentally gets eliminated by Skinner, but then Keirn says fuck it and just tries to eliminate Berzerker! He survives, and then KVE and Skinner start fighting near the ropes, which is when Josh yelled "BERZERKER IS GOING TO ELIMINATE THEM BOTH!!!" By this point, everybody else's picks had been eliminated, and EVERYONE knew how much I'd been working on my Berzerker project. So the room was going wild for Berzerker, and when he won the bomb just went off. The whole room was flipping out. It felt like we all won that battle royal. There was literally no other day in my 36 years on earth that would have been a better time to watch this battle royal. It was perfection.

50. Berzerker/Papa Shango vs. Undertaker/Ultimate Warrior - 7/12/92

I really really liked this. It was pretty much just what you would want from this match. It was a fast 8 minutes, which meant that nobody got exposed (anybody know what is considered the best Shango/Kama/Godfather match? I can't recall ever seeing a match with him and thinking "now THAT'S a keeper", but they must exist, right?), and everybody could go go go, and they did. Berzerker/Warrior was a genuinely fun match up, and Warrior busted ass in this, as did Berzerker (I guess I had assumed that would happen though). Berzerker bumped all around for Warrior as if he was Savage or Flair, and Warrior ate a big boot really nicely. Shango and Taker were more background characters but the money was in the UW/Zerk showdowns. Another match where you can say with no argument that Berzerker worked harder than anybody else in the ring, really a super generous opponent. Considering 3 of these guys (well, really 4) weren't considered "workrate legends" during this time, this match was a blast.

"My Berzerker is at top of the WWF. He will take any opponent in ring and crush and make them suffer, including YOU Undertaker!" ~Mr. Fuji

"The people know! Now there's no doubt in the peoples' minds who the toughest wrestler in the World Wrestling Federation is! Well Undertaker, you had a taste of the Berzerker! Undertaker, how does it feel to get your cold, stinkin', white, ugly flesh beaten, dragged out and kicked on?? The Berzerker will not, cannot, and WON'T be stopped! Huss! Huss!" ~Berzerker

Undertaker vs. Bruce Mitchell ends quickly, but Undertaker doesn't get much time to celebrate as Berzerker comes stalking down the aisle. Paul Bearer is caught on the ring steps, and Mr. Fuji throws salt in his eyes! Bearer takes a sick backwards bump off the steps , rolling over and doing an awesome tumble. Fuji grabs the urn, and Undertaker grabs Fuji, so Berzerker rushes in to club Taker. Taker chokes Berzerker and Fuji hits him with a cane, which does not faze Undertaker, then Berzerkers throws salt into Taker's eyes!! They use it as a smoke screen to escape down the aisle.

51. Berzerker vs. Jason Knight - Superstars 7/20/92

Jason Knight has that sick ombre high top fade mullet. He looks like Brian Bosworth crossed with Buff Bagwell. He bumps nicely for Berzerker, springing back across the ring after Berzerker chokes him in the ropes. The rest is as you would expect. But this match is important because it is the RETURN of Berzerker throwing his opponent to the floor to win! Knight bumps it painfully by landing harder on one leg than the other.

52. Berzerker/Ric Flair vs. Undertaker/Randy Savage - 7/21/92

Look at this lineup right here! As far as I can tell this never aired on American TV, and it's all just weird. This is during Savage's reign as champ, but he's never mentioned as the champ or shown wearing the belt. Most of his time post WMVIII was spent wrestling Flair on house show runs in rematches, with a couple neat sounding matches that never made tape (or are on a Coliseum video I don't know about) mixed in. I'd love to see World Champ Savage vs. Kamala. You look at the names in this tag, and one of them is not like the other. Also of note, is that Berzerker is larger than the Undertaker, and this is may be the smallest I've ever seen Savage. This was before the Zahorian steroid trial, but Savage just looked super tiny, you know, compared to pro wrestling physiques, and compared to his prior physiques. And for a long match, there really isn't a whole lot of Berzerker, or a whole lot of anything. This was almost a "night off" house show match, with oodles of charm just due to the star power of the workers, but not a lot of actual work. It IS a tremendous Flair show, and actually made me want to go back and see a lot more WWF Flair matches. The way he picks on Savage and the way he stooges for Undertaker are classic. Undertaker breaks out a couple of really great gorilla press slams, and I LOVE a great gorilla press slam. Sadly Berzerker doesn't get to do much, although he does take another one of his splits bumps, and is obviously in there to take a pin (after a nice Tombstone/Macho Man elbow combo, which is actually a nice thing to be pinned by as it showed the team thought they needed to pull out both moves to keep him down). An amusing match, and an excellent Flair performance, but something that could have been so much more.


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