Segunda Caida

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

Friday, April 12, 2019

New Footage Friday: Fuchi, Liger, Bock, Hansen, Savage, Piper, Magee, Dibiase

Nick Bockwinkel/Stan Hansen vs. Dick The Bruiser/Crusher AWA 3/4/84

PAS: This is what we would expect from a Bruiser and Crusher tag in the mid 80s. They aren't going to bump, they aren't going to sell, they are going to eat their opponents alive and the crowd is going to dig it. It is funny to watch Hansen, an immovable object at eating up his opponents run into the irresistible force of Dick the Bruiser, at one point Bruiser no-sells an eye rake. Bockwinkle is unsurprisingly great at pinballing around the ring. Ref seems to blow the finish as they run the Heenan interference spot twice and he just throws the match out. This was a fun example of a hot tag, but I wouldn't exactly call it a good match.

MD: I'll take any new ten minute Bockwinkel match I can get. This we only had clipped before and it's immediately interesting because it's Bockwinkel teaming with Hansen with Heenan managing them both. I can't remember any other scenario where Heenan managed Hansen. It went pretty much as you'd expect with Hansen meeting them head on and Bockwinkel bumping around the ring for them. By far the best part of this was Hansen brawling with Da Crusher which made me think that they could have had a hell of a singles match even this late in the game.

ER: This is my kind of gem right here, two guys closer to 60 than 50 just punching their way through two great opponents for 10 minutes while the crowd loses it. Bockwinkel is great flying around for Crusher and Bruiser's punches, and it's awesome seeing Hansen not selling and punching through their offense...while neither of them are selling and punching right through Hansen's offense. Crusher moved really great for an old guy, especially loved his leaping stomp off the middle rope, and fully agree with Matt that a Hansen/Crusher match could have been great. Crusher throws big meaty balled up fists to Hansen's head and Hansen throws these vicious 12 to 6 elbows whenever he could. We got a stomach claw, elbowdrops, Captain Kangaroo haircuts, and something that I would have ranked unconscionably high on an 80s set.

Roddy Piper vs. Randy Savage WWF 12/13/86

MD: I hadn't been aware that they ran these in November/December of 86, let alone that one made tape. This a handheld from fairly far away but Piper and Savage work so big that you're never in doubt of what's happening. This was the same card that Dynamite hurt his back but you'd never know it from how hot the crowd was. Piper was immensely over here and they fully believed that they could get a title change. We've gotten three or four new Piper matches during the last year and every one's only raised his stock. This is no exception. He was exceptional at milking a moment, of containing this wild, manic, unpredictable energy but holding it in to let it charge and build so that when he released it, it would be to the greatest possible effect. He understood his audience and had this way of doing things that no one else would do to keep them engaged. I loved the opening flurry (including the eyepoke) which was really all to set up him holding the ropes open so Elizabeth could leave. By the time he landed a few more blows and hit a bulldog, the entire crowd was chanting his name. Obviously Savage was going to meet his manic energy mid-way. Some elements of this, like the two count teases, I liked more than what we got later with Steamboat. There was more pause to them, more struggle, more of a countering element instead of a choreographed dance and I think that made the crowd buy into them and care all the more. Obviously you would have wanted this to go longer with less of a BS finish but what we did get was worthwhile.

PAS: This was a pair of guys who push the pace, pushing the pace. Goddamn is Roddy Piper awesome, the opening flurry of punch combos knocking down Savage so he could open the ropes for Elizabeth is such a flex, I am going to whoop your ass and be chivalrous to your lady. Savage's dive to the floor is still one of the prettiest dives in wrestling history, looks better then some thing with fourteen twists and turns. For a BS finish, this was a clever one, with Savage bailing out of the ring, Piper chasing him, catching him and fireman's carrying him up the steps in a cool bit of strength, only to dump him in right as the ref counted Piper out. These guys really match up well  (they had a whole different house show run in 1990 which I wouldn't mind seeing) and I am really happy that it showed up for us to see.

ER: I thought this was really great, with an expected house show non-finish but a non-finish that was super clever and continued the violence. Both guys did all the things these guys do, extremely well. The more we see of Piper the more there is an argument for him as the best WWF worker of the 80s. Savage is one of the guys that would be his competition. I don't know if some of Piper's stuff would look as effective as it did here without Savage bumping for him. Savage's bumping here was fast and violent, but organic, and never looked like he was showing up Piper with his bumping; the bumps looked like a natural reaction to Piper's big shots. Macho Man had some great shots too, and his big wind up punch with one leg up, free hand grabbing his opponent's head, is one of my favorite punches in wrestling. Piper had an absolutely incredible kneelift in this match, one of the only kneelifts I've ever seen where someone looked like they threw their whole body into a move, and it looked tremendous. The finish was one of the more spectacular non-finishes I've ever seen, with Savage getting launched to the floor and Piper retrieves him in manly fashion, and walks him back up the ring steps in a fireman's carry, getting counted out while throwing Savage in. That's such a great BS finish. Piper saves his best punch of the match for the ref, and we understand. I loved this!

Ted Dibiase vs. Tom Magee WWF 12/7/88

ER: More evidence that WWE has been catering this series to a bunch of weird internet fans, or course they go weird on us and upload a Tom Magee match, only it's a Tom Magee match that nobody knew even existed. Now we know that there are seemingly two Hart matches, I don't think anyone ever talked about a Dibiase match. Here it is and really, it's not bad. Magee looks far more clueless in his available All Japan matches, here he looks like someone that 7 year old me would get excited to see on a weekly basis. He was a muscular guy who did handsprings, that was pretty much my brand then (if you missed my love letter to Mark Young, same thing). This was Dibiase crafting a solid match around a limited opponent, as we all assumed it would be. Dibiase sets up some unfuckupable moments where he either runs into a Magee limb or aims his own limb at where Magee is running, and the fans respond really well to Magee. Magee is a stiff, his selling is a kind of Great Khali teetering while swinging arms, but Dibiase keeps the sequences simple and keeps his timing in check so it works. Magee handspringing out of a rolling clutch attempt was really cool and he had a decent back elbow, and this was a great Dibiase performance making Magee look like someone who was a threat. I wish we had audio for a large portion of this, as the crowd reactions to Magee would have been cool, but this was a fun find nonetheless.

Jushin Liger vs. Masa Fuchi AJPW/NJPW 1/28/01

MD: Really glad that Phil came across this one. Fuchi has a clear and distinct size advantage over Liger, so much so that it can be the narrative of the match. That's not something you always see with Fuchi and lets him bully in a slightly different way than how he usually bullies an opponent. So that's your big picture. Liger would use his speed and savvy and never-say-die attitude to fight back but ultimately get cut off until a reversal and dive on the outside that lead them towards the finish.

On a micro level, you get stuff like the immediate start of the match, where Liger, disadvantaged on a lock-up, climbs the ropes to win it, only to add insult to injury by slapping Fuchi. Fuchi's response? Staring, fixing his hair, and walking right over to kick Liger in the gut so he can slam him hard twice. Fuchi's cutoffs were generally reversal based and expert. I don't know if it was because of how colorful his opponent was or the fact he had the luxury due to the size advantage, but he played to the crowd a bit more than I was used to. I loved the varied holds he used here, be it the crossface into the STF or the cobra clutch over the knee, and the openings he found, like when he worked on Liger's midsection using the ring as a prop based off of a hold leaving Liger vulnerable to some nasty elbows. Liger was great working from underneath but still confident enough to give Fuchi so much. When he stole the match with at Casita at the end it still felt earned because of the damage he'd absorbed.

PAS: This was the only matchup between the biggest All Japan Juniors star of the 90s and the biggest New Japan juniors star of the 90s. It was on an All Japan dome show so it was appropriate that it was Liger working a Fuchi match rather then the other way around. We get some classic Fuchi torture, as he grinds out a crossface, twists Ligers limbs with a brutal leg stretch and even steps on his stomach. We get a couple of cool Liger comebacks including a big dive, but Fuchi retakes control and dumps Liger on his horns with some really violent back suplexes. Finish was Liger escaping by the skin of his teeth as he reverses an Irish whip into a leg trip and a Magistral for the pin. Liger wins but it felt more like an escape then a triumph. 

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