Segunda Caida

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

Thursday, June 21, 2018

It's Old Vader Time!!

Vader vs. 2 Cold Scorpio  Pro Wrestling Syndicate 6/1/12

ER: Vader ceased working full time in 2003, 15 years ago! And I can't recall anybody talking about his post-NOAH career. Now Vader was a late starter who didn't get to WWF until he was in his early 40s, and was still working full time in Japan into his late 40s. His career had to wind down at some point, so it makes sense that a really large guy working occasional matches in his 50s wasn't getting the same amount of attention. Outside of a couple other Japan matches and random appearances in WWE or TNA I know I wasn't seeking out post-prime Vader. I saw this match out there and knew these two were always on the same side in Japan so never fought there, really only crossed paths during Scorpio's Flash Funk run 15 years earlier. Vader was in his late 50s at this point and by far the biggest I'd seen him, Scorpio looked...well, the exact same as he's looked for the past 15 years. I wasn't expecting a lot out of this one as I assume there was a conversation before the match that went "I can't bump anymore, so I'm just going to throw a lot of hands." It's gotta be tough going into a match knowing that you're going to take a beating without getting a lot of glory, but man did I dig this match a LOT.

Vader is REALLY big here but still knows how to work a match, still knows how to build to things, knows how to make his few bumps matter, doesn't attempt anything that he can't pull off, etc. And Scorpio does take a beating nicely. They start off with a nice slow build but it's always tense as you know both guys can throw big shots. Vader is first to do so, and we start getting some chest puffing as both guys take turns seeing who can hit the other harder with a short arm clothesline, a harder version of what they would do before tag matches in NOAH, and the fans win. After Vader hits him with a big lariat and bear attack we get more classic Vader shots, and it's awesome seeing him older, fatter, but still using that same Vader muscle memory. I've made a big deal about Vader being in his late 50s, but Scorpio is in his late 40s here and spry as hell, bumping around big for Vader and springing quickly back to his feet. At one point Vader hits a mean kick right to the balls, and the announcer covers nicely with a "well who's going to tell Vader that you can't do that" explanation. Scorpio lands some stiff punches to the face, and works in some cool big moments like attempting to lift Vader only to get flattened with a crossbody. Vader is smart enough to make even the obvious resting spot of the match engaging, not just holding a chinlock but fighting over a Rings of Saturn while shoving on Scorpio's jaw. Vader was clearly breathing heavy but doing cool work, getting his weight on Scorpio, Scorpio fighting to not let up his other arm, turning it into a cool part of the match when it could have been a drag. We get some cool moments out of big Vader misses, like a nasty missed elbowdrop right into the mat. Scorpio misses on a big moonsault and in a moment I was completely not expecting, Vader absolutely crushes him with a Vader Bomb. Even more impressive, he appears to protect Scorp. This match was so much better than I anticipated, and until otherwise informed I will promote this as the last awesome Vader match. I could not imagine fans of both being disappointed in this one.

PAS: This was great, exactly how you want to work a match with a minimal number of bumps. If you aren't going to bump (well Vader didn't bump, Scorpio landed damn hard on a couple of throws), beat the shit out of each other and the definitely did. Feels like the kind of match you would expect old buddies who are tough as shit to have with each other. There are lots of moments where Vader throws a potato, Scorp throws one back and Vader smiles a bit and just pastes him. Scorpio's missed moonsault was gorgeous and that final Vader bomb was a splatterer. I remember digging this match back in 2012, and it was great to revisit it.

Vader/2 Cold Scorpio vs. Jay Lethal/Devon Moore  Pro Wrestling Syndicate 6/2/12

ER: This was just unexpectedly great. With no exaggeration Scorpio and Vader work as quickly here as they worked their last NOAH tag match a decade prior. Except now their combined age is 104. Old Vader was not in any way old Andre. There was no built in sad vulnerability, no constant pain etched across his face, no moments where it looked like he couldn't bend down to climb through the ropes. Vader looked linebacker quick here, and Scorpio looked as agile and graceful as literally any time you've ever seen Scorpio. This match is just outright shocking. Vader doesn't just stand in the middle of the ring and let people bounce into him, as you might expect from a 400 pound man with AARP eligibility. Vader RUNS and still has quick burst speed, still is an actual wrestler on the offensive. He and Lethal start with a rope running exchange that sees Vader pivoting and moving just as quick as ever, and when he's lacing into Lethal with clotheslines, big Vader arm attacks and punches, we get actual footwork and skill, not just "hold still and walk into my fist". When Moore is in Vader just absolutely FLATTENS him with two of the best elbowdrops you've ever seen, dropping them fast and hard across the upper chest, laying out with full extension, not once approaching gingerly dropping down. He continues squishing Moore and working a nasty arm submission while I actually giggle. Scorpio was just phenomenal here. He's a guy with some of the wildest high flying and strikes around, and he clearly aims to use ALL of it. His ringwork is so lightning fast, he throws this great violent spin kick, hits an awesome rolling heel kick, several variations on a twisting splash, all great. He and Vader are such an awesome complementary team, love Vader just slamming these guys then slingshotting Scorpio into the ring with his heavy flying. We get a hilarious violent stretch, where Vader hits a full extension Vader Bomb on Lethal, but Moore makes the save, so Vader hits another one, and Moore makes the save. Vader is looking at more like "Are you serious?" and while Vader is yelling at Moore we get Scorpio sneaking in with a slingshot legdrop on Lethal, then a rolling splash. Lethal is just a total grease stain on the mat and Moore keeps saving him, and it's great. Lethal and Moore do get a brief but nice comeback, ending with Moore hitting a nice shooting star press. Vader comes in with the save, just hammerfisting the back of Moore's head and clearing the ring with a violent chokeslam on Lethal. Scorpio is truly crazy and drops the bomb to end the match, crushing that moonsault legdrop. This match was just a total shock. I really dug the Vader/Scorpio singles the night before, but to see the two of them here working as if a decade hadn't passed since their last tag match, I was just flipping out the entire match. This one delivered some completely improbable thrills. These are the last of the great Vader matches.

PAS: Devon Moore must have broken some old school locker room rule or something (maybe he didn't share his drugs) because he gets merked by Vader and Scorp in this match. Lethal gets a chance to do some offense and work exchanges with Scorpio, while Moore just gets smashed. That chokeslam by Vader looked like he was trying to Joe Thurman Moore. I was amused at Devon continuously breaking up the pin while Lethal was getting flatter and flatter. The Drop the Bomb may be my favorite top rope move ever, it is so beautiful and lands with such violence, fun match and both the oldsters looked awesome. Colorado represent!!

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