Segunda Caida

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

Friday, July 27, 2018

New Footage Fridays: Kroffat, Kawada, Pat Roach, Ray Steele,

Magnum TA/Randy Savage vs. The Mongolians 11/24/83

PAS: This was more of a cock tease then a match worth watching. Clearly they have raw footage Omni shows (including the rest of this tourney, the finals was Butch Reed/Pez Whatley vs. Savage/TA which I am sure was better), which is exciting, but this was kind of a dud. The Mongolians brought nothing to the table outside of silly haircuts, they were a plodding forearm and punch team, who didn't have good looking forearms and punches. TA and Savage control early with headlocks and front face locks, and there was some interesting stuff there, including TA rolling through a front face lock into mount. We get a couple of dull sections of the Mongolians in control, a hot tag to Savage, who only hits a second rope elbow for the pin. All this really made me want to do is organize an Oceans 11 style heist of the WWE footage vault.

MD: I'm not going to spend ten sentences griping that we didn't get basically any other match on this card. Still, this was a waste. It's a great look at the potential of 1983 Magnum. I don't know who told him to rush across the ring and attack the Mongol on the apron but he owed whoever it was a beer. The crowd loved that and therefore the crowd loved him. He came off like a star with an abandon that completely overshadowed Savage. Randy's best moment was realizing the incompetent Mongol tossed him into his own corner during a short FIP segment and bumping his way back to the center of the ring. This was the first match of the tournament and was paced as such: headlocks during the shine, a couple of hot tags without the time put in to earn heat, amorphous clubbering heel offense. Really it was enough to make me want to see Magnum/Savage vs the Bruise Brothers or Whatley/Reed from the same show but that's about it. This did what it was supposed to do but it wasn't supposed to do much.

Ray Steele vs. Pat Roach WOS 4/87

ER: I'm hardly familiar with these two, but I like Roach on sight as he's in his 50s, burly, and looks like a British version of Randall "Tex" Cobb. He also is the guy who boxed his way into a propeller blade death in Raiders of the Lost Ark. I wager you've seen him in far more movies than you've seen him in wrestling matches, so I'm happy this showed up. And it was a nice, satisfying, minimalist match with a lot of attention paid to simple bodyslams and wristlocks and the way it built to one big running forearm felt like this was happening in World of Muga. Roach has a few different cool neck bridges and I love how he weaponized a snapmare by turning it into more of a throw than a takedown. I don't believe I've seen it done or taken that way before. Steel was good at wrist control and grinding Roach down with a couple knees dug into the back and I loved how much of a big deal the bodyslams turned into. Roach started hitting release slams on Steele and each one kept him down for just a little longer, no pinfalls, just letting that slam soak into the bone. By the time we got to the ending running forearm (which looked like it shook Steele right out of the sky) it felt huge. Classic Muga mixed with World of Sport, meaning there was a backslide, a few bodyslams, a couple uppercuts, a forearm, a couple snapmares, and approximately 35 somersaults, and it was cool as hell.

PAS: This was a really good example of the power of simplicity when it looks good. Much of the first part of the match was based around working a top wristlock, but it was a great looking top wristlock and both guys had a bunch of small adjustments to make it look violent and impactful. I loved how size was used in the match, Roach is a lot bigger, and he menaced over Steele and had the slightest bit more sizzle on all of his shots. That running forearm was awesome looking, it looked like a KO blow and Steele sold it like he had his lights turned off. That is so much more effective then a dozen KO elbows or kicks which are shrugged off.

MD: There are a few other matches between Steele and Roach out there but I'm pretty sure this one hasn't shown up before. As it only goes a few rounds, it's a good starter match for anyone interested in British heavyweights, especially later era stuff (this is from 87). The atmosphere is everything that makes this style stand out: that "real sport" feel, the struggle for every hold, the shift between potential and kinetic energy where any increase in intensity might lead to a fall, the difficulty in switching momentum once someone gains an advantage. Everything is earned, but once something is gained, it's worth every bit of that effort. And despite all that, just like life, it can all end in a moment (in this case, by the means of a killer forearm). We don't review nearly enough of this stuff here. There are far worse things we could do than a C+A Pat Roach.

Dan Kroffat vs. Toshiaki Kawada AJPW 4/2/92

PAS: I really loved this, Kroffat jumps Kawada during the streamers and low blows him early, for the rest of the match we get pissed off Kawada and Kroffat fighting for his life. Kawada really lays in the kicks to the face in this match trying to kick Kroffat's eyeball to the back of his head, Kroffat to his credit doesn't get eaten up, but keeps firing back, including landing a big wheel kick and a molar loosening superkick. Kawada actually works over the leg during the last part of this match, which isn't something I remember him doing. He does it in a very Kawada way, with these brutal leg sweeps which look like he is recklessly trying to tear Kroffat's MCL, ACL, all the CL's. The finish was awesome as he slaps on a nasty looking high angle single leg crab, and when Kroffat taps, Kawada just stomps out of the ring, like "Fuck this guy and this whole stupid wrestling thing."

ER: The way Phil described it I thought this would be a little more of a mauling, but I thought Kroffat had almost as many dickhead shots at Kawada as vice versa. But in Kawada's defense, Kroffat totally starts it. Kawada grabs his head and starts firing off those low kicks to the temple, and Kroffat responds by basically flopping to his back while sneaking in an upkick on Kawada's balls. He plays innocent but when Kawada gets up pissed, Kroffat knew what he did. Kroffat is pretty crafty throughout, and I always love how he hooks that crescent kick right around a guy's ear, but he sets up Kawada's stuff in nasty ways too, like crashing hard into Kawada knees on a senton attempt. And Kawada certainly is a beast, really looking already like prime Triple Crown level Kawada here, that confidence is there and he does punish Kroffat nicely. We've seen matches where Kroffat and Furnas eat guys up, so we know he's no pushover, but seeing Kawada tee off on him in the corner with whipping shins into Kroffat's head just feels like Kawada knows exactly what kind of wrestler he is. Kawada breaks out something I don't think I've ever seen from him (and I don't think I've seen done by anyone this well) as he hits this front legsweep on Kroffat, and not even a typical Inoki legsweep, more like a diving kick to Kroffat's knee and shin. And the finish is brutal as Kawada grabs a high single leg (think a Liontamer but with a half crab) and just starts stomping face until Kroffat is all "Dude, fucking FINE, I quit" and then Kawada just storms out like "Fucking GOOD just quit then". The fans filming this were clearly huge Kawada fans, as you can hear them the whole match giggling with glee at this awesome professional wrestler.

MD: This is the AJPW Kroffat I want. In a land where the heel/face divide is sort of murky and often underplayed, Kroffat's the heel that we hope for. It's not enough that he does one nasty, underhanded thing from the get go. He does three, utterly unleashing Kawada. It's still Kawada though, so this isn't some sort of firebrand vengeance. It's pinpoint precision. Kroffat knows what he did and tries to stay on top (small thing, but I really liked how he stops short on the headlock-shrug off, refusing to be whipped and just comes right back at Kawada again), but one caught kicked and the meanest shove down possible later and Kawada's totally honed in on the ankle. It's not enough that he kicks the leg out from under Kroffat a couple of times. Somehow he manages to specifically kick the ankle out. It's fairly back and forth from there, with Kawada trying to kill Kroffat and Kroffat more than holding his own, including some fairly cool stuff like Kroffat riding a back body drop reversal to a tiger-driver over into an armbar and the finish where Kawada stomps Kroffat's face off in order to lock in a vertical half crab. Great stuff. We're lucky this one got unearthed.

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Blogger Curt McGirt said...

Two things unmentioned: Kawada chopping Kroffat right in the face and the camera turning away like it was a police shooting, and Kroffat FLYING into a Fujiwara armbar out of a Kawada running lariat which was one of the slickest things out of one of the slickest wrestlers ever.

9:06 PM  
Blogger John Belt said...

I remember 11 year old me seeing that GCW omni tournament in an Apter mag and wishing I could have watched it and now I know it exists I really want to see it.The same with the show in baltimore with Flair vs Brisco I think it was Wrestling Revue that would have pictorial recaps of big cards.

10:04 PM  

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