Segunda Caida

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

Sunday, June 03, 2018

The Bad News Berzerker Goes to Japan: Part 9, More Giant White Men

Stan Hansen vs. John Nord (AJPW 3/19/94) - GREAT

ER: Not the match I was expecting after the crazy highspot fest that was Death/Nord, but this was two giant dudes working a match where their size canceled each other out. You expect two big guys to throw nothing but big bombs, but this match kind of awesomely only has a couple highspots, and doesn't even really have many bumps, and it works totally great. Hansen tries to ground Nord right away, and Nord slowly maneuvers out of a heavy chinlock to grab Hansen by the left arm, and begins tearing apart that arm for the next several minutes. I really got into the arm work, seeing Hansen vulnerable and Nord sadistically wrapping it around guardrails, ring ropes, bending it, all in cool ways. At one point he suckers Hansen into grabbing him from the apron, but it's just a trap to get Hansen's arm tangled through the ropes. My favorite part of the entire match was Nord starting to drop these falling headbutts on the arm, some of the absolute best falling headbutts I've ever seen. He dropped several right into Hansen's arm, and all of them had really impressive force. A lot of falling headbutts look like a guy just falling on his face and belly, but these really looked like Nord was using his head as a blunt weapon, really hard shots. Hansen would attempt flurries on Nord, try and grab him and land short range headbutts, or try to hit a shoulderblock, but Nord was relentless. Nord hits his big flying shoulderblock and plants him with a piledriver, and Hansen has no openings. He wisely starts dodging Nord's big attacks. Nord is really great at missing offense in big ways, so Hansen holds the ropes to avoid a Nord dropkick, and Nord also misses a big kneedrop off the middle rope (not as brutal as that top rope knee he missed in the Death match, but damn does John Nord miss a kneedrop with gusto). The finish run is smart and simple and looked subtly cool enough that I ran it back to watch 4 times: Hansen decides he's going to use his bum wing anyway - what choice does he have - and Nord sees it coming a mile away and goes for his big boot as Hansen charges, but Hansen sidesteps it to send himself into the ropes almost chest first, almost shoulderblocking the ropes with his left shoulder, which allows him to spring back and turn perfectly into position to immediately hit the western lariat. It wasn't flashy, it was simple, but it looked like beautiful pro wrestling. This whole match was 9 minutes of cool, engaging, minimalist wrestling that was not what I was expecting, but damn did it draw me in.


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