Segunda Caida

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

Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Bad News Berzerker Goes to Japan: Part 8, Giant White Men

Steve Williams vs. John Nord (AJPW 3/5/94) - EPIC

ER: I'm not sure what the thinking was behind have Nord work singles matches against all the other gaijin on the tour, but I like that it happened. You don't get many gaijin on gaijin singles from All Japan, especially from someone like Nord who was only there previously to tag with big white guys and not actually work against big white guys. This match isn't even part of the Champion Carnival, most of which appears to be not on tape and is a colossal shame as it has singles matches against practically every single native you could possibly want to see Nord matched up against (Kawada, Honda, Taue, Akiyama, Kobashi) and hopefully some man was sitting in the crowd with a camcorder. No, this singles is the very end of Nord's second tour with AJPW (Champion Carnival was his third and final), and Nord goes alllllll the way out and works like a maniac who is going to have a couple weeks off to rest his body. Dr. Death is also a lunatic in this, and this match is definitely the closest we've come to the classic Berzerker style in All Japan. In even the best of his All Japan matches we've so far seen him work as a fairly normal member of a tag team or trios. Here he is unleashed Berzerker, lariating Death as Death casually jogs to the ring and begins running the ropes. Lariating Death: The John Nord Story. The whole opening is great, as Death pops up pissed and the smack each other around the face a bunch, Nord hits his huge dropkick to send Death into the ropes (I imagine getting hit by that is like getting hit by an Ewok log trap), rushes at him and takes a massive backdrop bump over the top to the floor. We haven't gotten a ton of Nord bumping big to the floor in AJ, and as I'm thinking about giant dudes flying, Dr. Death hits a tope through the ropes that crashes Nord back of head first into the barricade, and then plants Nord with a Oklahoma Stampede on the concrete (after moving back the mats, naturally). Holy cow. That's what happens when you ambush Dr. Death, I suppose.

BUT Nord gets to break out his own craziness, and Doc takes maybe the craziest bump I've ever seen from him. He has Nord on the top buckle, about to suplex him, and Nord just throws this brutal, full arm, Hansen style lariat, and Doc flies off the top rope and tumbles all the way to the floor. Good god. AND for the very first recorded time since mid-1991, Nord breaks out his wild plancha to the floor, wild not just because he's 300 lb., but because he does his plancha to people who are lying down! And it's not typically a splash, it's a giant man flinging himself to the floor and landing all of his weight on his opponent. He's dropped knees, elbows, done Bombs Away butt drops, all because he's mostly out of control flying to the floor. Here he lands on Death and steamrolls over his body, then tears the mats away, kicks Death in the head a bunch, keeps comedically rolling back into the ring to break the count while Higuchi tells him to not do what he's about to do...and then piledrives Death on the concrete. For some reason, the camera crew totally AAAs it and right as he's about to hit the piledriver they just drift off to the right, showcasing nothing. We think we saw a piledriver, he has traditionally hit a piledriver there, but we didn't actually see a piledriver. I presume that a large white man piledrove another large white man, but none of us actually saw the piledriver...did this piledriver happen? No matter. The match starts with big fireworks and some wild "last night of the tour" moments, and we cool it down, Berzerker drops a few slams, hits a splash, goes up to the top rope...and missing a gigantic kneedrop in absolutely brutal fashion. I mean, I get it's the last night of the tour, but there is zero reason for a 300 lb. man to leap off the top rope onto his patella. Nord grabs at his leg, and I always like his selling as he always flops around and yelps like a dog that got bit by a raccoon. Death plants him with a backdrop driver, and until this post I never thought of all of the stupidest pulp noir paperback potential in just describing Dr. Death's actions. "Death Wins in 9", "Never Count Out Death", "Death Falls to the Floor". This match slayed.

PAS: Totally awesome big man spotfest. This feels like the kind of thing that if it happened on a Wrestlemania weekend indy show, would be legendary stuff. Reminds me of some of the awesome Williams vs. Gordy stuff from UWF. Dr. Death breaking out kind of a half plancha, half tope was nuts, and the Nord plancha to the floor is still one of the nuttier spots in wrestling history, add that to his missed top rope knee drop, it is like Nord had some long term vicious vendetta against his own knees.


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