Segunda Caida

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

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

RIP Mastadon

Big Van Vader vs. Tony Halme NJPW 5/17/92

PAS: This is a fun battle of monsters, which is exactly what you want it to be. Halme may have the best body shots in wrestling history and he really is digging in into Vader's big belly here. There are very few wrestlers Vader has ever fought who you buy going toe to toe with him. It was a battle of those great looping Vader hooks against the those thudding body shots. We also got a big Halme top rope clothesline and a body slam. I loved the finish run with Vader throwing big clotheslines and Halme refusing to go down until he finally does. The actual finish run was a bit of a banana peel, but both guys are so imposing, banana peel seems like the only way.

ER: I just saw the movie Rampage (again...) and this is the large white men version of that. I'm with Phil on this one as how many guys can stand opposite Vader and make it look like a fair stand and trade? How many guys can stand across Halme and do the same? Also agree that Halme's hard right to the stomach is my favorite body shot in wrestling. It's thrown perfectly, lands and explodes. It's the best strike he throws, but it's also the best strike almost anyone throws. Even in his earliest matches Halme had a great elbowdrop, and he throws a perfect one here, and Vader takes this great sprawling bump across the ring off a top rope clothesline. Vader is a savage though and our finishing run is just lariat after lariat after avalanche after lariat after bear attack. Vader appears to be attempting to crush Halme's collarbones, dropping a big butt splash and a standing splash directly across his upper chest, and then some more lariats to that chest. At one point while lying on his back, Halme appears to feel for his heartbeat. The finish is a flash, with Vader missing another butt splash and immediately getting rolled up (and appearing to kick out), and it is a little disappointing not seeing these guys just murder each other to completion. Halme has this great aloof smug face though, so it's funny to see him immediately selling the victory like he hadn't spent the previous 3 minutes getting crushed. Halme is not one of the all time great wrestling titans like Vader, but he's damn sure a guy you want to see opposite a titan.

Super Vader vs. Tatsuo Nakano UWFI 5/6/93

PAS: This is Vader's debut match in UWFI and Nakano is a great opponent for a short sprint semi squash. He is a fat Elvis looking dude who always comes forward and fights, which is perfect for a guy getting mauled by a Grizzly Bear. He gets one great bit of offense, where he trips Vader and starts pounding him in the back in the head with some really stiff forearms. Vader lays in a big time beating, with a huge german suplex and a running smash where he obliterates Nakano and the ref. He finishes him with two big body shots and a hook. Great debut which makes Vader look unstoppable and Nakano like a tough bastard.

ER: Crowd is straight RABID for Vader, and why wouldn't they be? There's a roar through the first few minutes of this that practically sounds like the Beatles playing Shea. Nakano shows why I could never be a wrestler, standing chest out as Vader walks up to him...and Vader just looks enormous. He looks comically large. We all know how large Vader was, but here he just looks absolutely larger than life, like he's about to just swallow Nakano whole. Nakano is a man and takes his beating, trying some leg kicks that could have been effective the longer the match lasted, and getting Vader momentarily off his feet which is the only place Nakano had a shot. But this is a debuting monster, and that monster is gonna eat. Vader hits two of my absolute favorite avalanches here, one the second the bell rings (just to show Nakano how this match is going to go) and another as Nakano is getting back to his feet and Vader just decides to steamroll him AND the ref. The UWF-I points system just makes it look like Nakano's health meter is constantly draining, which, yeah, is accurate. The German is big, and he even pulls back on it a back, rotating to the side at the last minute so it's more of a flat back suplex, when he could have just planted him dome first by going straight over the top. His strikes looked impossible to take, and the body shots to end the match look like something that could end any match ever.

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