Segunda Caida

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

Thursday, March 21, 2019

On Brand Segunda Caida: Bradshaw and Barry: To Blackjacks And Beyond

Blackjack Bradshaw vs. Philip Lafon WWF Shotgun Saturday Night 6/7/97

ER: Lafon only worked 3 singles matches during his WWF run, which is weird considering he was there for over a year. He worked a house show match against Owen in Quebec (that I would love to see), a house show match against Phineas Godwinn (that I would love to see), and this match, the lone televised singles match of his WWF run. And it's kind of a lackadaisical affair for Philip, but not really to the match's detriment. Some of the set ups were a little too weirdly telegraphed and it always seemed like Lafon was the one doing it, but who knows. I really liked Bradshaw's aggression during his Blackjack run; he was clearly trying to work like Hansen, and he wasn't as good as Hansen (obviously not, but I'm saying he wasn't as good as same-era 48 year old Hansen), but he was really big and imposing and swung nicely for the fences. Lafon is a guy who can be a real assbeater, and I was hoping for that here, two guys who could work like bullies colliding. Lafon is half asleep and lethargic throughout, though still breaks out a couple cool tricks: He had a cool yank of the tights to send Bradshaw crashing to the floor, and a cool rabbit lariat right to the back of Bradshaw's head. But there were a couple moments where he visibly sandbagged Bradshaw, not getting up on a backdrop (that makes it cooler, as Bradshaw just pancakes him to the mat instead) and coming in lazy and heavy on the powerslam that finishes the match. He also took this weird timberrrrr bump off a big boot, looked like he was bored and trying to make Bradshaw look bad. Either Lafon and Furnas had a shooter aura, or Bradshaw had none of his later asshole personality and confidence, because any one of those things looked like something that any jobber would have caught a serious beating for pulling.

Bradshaw vs. Barry Windham WWF Raw 3/23/98

ER: THE BLACKJACKS EXPLODE!! WWF bringing back the NWA for a few months in early '98 was really weird, and I'm pretty sure I remember reading that it was all just to make fun of Cornette. We get a pretty cool mini video package before this match, something they don't do now as interestingly as they did here, and definitely not as efficiently. Within a 20 second video they had already explained why the Blackjacks broke up, how Barry was jealous of Bradshaw, showed several clips of Bradshaw murdering people, Bradshaw chasing Barry up the ramp after interference, and then we cut back to a smug blonde Windham in the ring. They had me at hello. This feels like a match that would have fit nicely onto the WM14 card, though I get why it wasn't on the card. Windham seems pretty broken down by this point, which is weird as he was somewhat resurgent not too much later in WCW. Still, this was 3 fun minutes with a dozen different moments of two giant dudes smacking each other with vests and chaps. Seriously, I'm pretty sure half of this match was them removing their respective vests and chaps, and smacking the other a few times with each removal. Take off a vest, smack your opponent with it. Get them chaps off, smack your opponent with them. It's the 2019 LA Park formula, 20 years prior. I dig it. Barry is moving a little slow and those knees seem to be barking, but he takes a couple of awesome bumps into the ring steps, getting run knees first in nasty fashion, eats a big boot from Bradshaw and falls into them again. Windham hits a cool DDT in the ring and we get a goofus roll up finish (damn, at least let one of these two hit their diving lariat), and for some reason we all collectively wonder why we never got these two working a cool surfer gimmick as Barry 'n' Brad.

Barry Windham vs. Erich Sbraccia NWA New England 9/20/98

ER: Here's a fun glimpse at Barry Windham - same age as my present age - wrestling an indy show in between his WWF and WCW stints. Erich Sbraccia was a Good 90s Indy Wrestler, coming out with goons like Tony Rumble and Knuckles Nelson, all of them looking exactly like Late 90s East Coast Indy Wrestlers. And man I wish this match went longer. It's only 7 minutes which is a shame, as they clearly had material to work longer, and the crowd was hot and reacting to Barry like it was 1993. Sbraccia throws some armdrags to surprise Windham, then slams him (looks like Barry came in expecting an armdrag so Sbraccia had to muscle him into a slam, which looked impressive). And of course then Barry comes back with the same and it's great seeing Windham throwing fast armdrags. I said Sbraccia was good, and he did a lot of basic things I like out of my guys: There's a fast rope run exchange where he really swings low and for the fences on a missed lariat, and he takes a really great backdrop bump; later he eats a couple nice punches from Windham and takes a wonderful pratfall bump onto the apron, his boot getting hung up on the top rope. Windham was really hustling too, taking a fast bump to the gym floor and landing with a thud, and really whipping off the ropes with his diving lariat. The finish is all mumbo jumbo run in from Knuckles, and it was annoying in that way you can tell a match is going home a minute before they arrive home. This delivered as a 7 minute match, but it really could have been a great match with 14 minutes. Both guys seemed game, but this was just about the end of Indy Windham. Indham.

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