Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D, Sebastian, and other friends write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Thursday, January 06, 2022

The Odd, Different Greatness of the Other Andre/Warrior Match

ER: This is the first of the two "real" Andre/Warrior matches we got. They feuded singles for the entire back half of 1989, mostly working really short house show matches. This match and their Saturday Night's Main Event match a couple months later were the matches that actually got enough time to be interesting, AND were actually recorded. That later match was voted the Worst Match of the Year in the WON, which is another example of how bad Meltzer opinions have poisoned and influenced some bad takes on what makes a good wrestling match. It's impossible for me to watch that match and see what people thought was so bad about it. I get that to Meltzer acolytes and whatever constituted a "smart" fan in 1989, Warrior was the wrestler you had to hate, and Andre was viewed as an old broken slug. But it's clear 30 years later that the match was viewed with extreme prejudice and people wanted it to be much worse than it actually was. The match is incredibly smart, and easily one of Andre's best singles match performances in WWF. If you missed my review of that match, read my review here, and if you've never watched it and only know of it as the Worst Match of 1989, see for yourself how wrong they were. 

This match was not as good as that criminally underrated SNME match would be, yet managed to have several different cool moments that match did not have. It's built differently and could have been the better match, but Warrior was better and more stiff in the SNME match. Here, Warrior throws every strike as if he has no idea where the biggest man in the country is standing, and he botches the execution of a few moments so badly that, if you didn't know how bad Warrior could be, it would be easy to think he was trying to sandbag Andre. Warrior slams into Andre with shoulderblocks that Andre ignores, until Andre catches Warrior by the throat with his left hand. Andre shut down prospective Warrior offense a couple times by just reaching out that left hand, and a lot of the early parts of the match were Andre swatting Warrior away after Warrior came in swinging blind. Andre sets things up for later in the match that may or may not pay off (like quickly undoing a turnbuckle pad that was only attempted to be used briefly, towards the end of the match), and drags Warrior into a bearhug with that left hand choke. Warrior breaks and then hits a big bodyslam, which was not a part of the SNME match. 

The MSG crowd is really into Warrior, and the reactions get louder with each bump Andre spaced throughout. The bodyslam is a big bump, because it's likely nobody there had even seen Andre slammed in the subsequent two years since the Hogan match. It's not like he was being slammed regularly on TV, so the moment came off huge. Sadly, Warrior uglied up the moment right after, when a big splash that was supposed to hit knees instead just lands normally and they all have to pretend that Warrior missed. Andre had a smart plan in mind if Warrior was paying attention to it, including swiping at Warrior's leg on his first pass in an attempt to trip him, then putting a boot up from his back that Warrior was supposed to hit. I swear, it looked like Warrior perfectly tried to miss that boot. If Andre is holding up his leg and you are running at him, you have to work really hard to avoid that leg. 

Andre sells Warrior's bad offense really impressively, getting rocked in the ropes and standing up to Warrior's stiff arm clotheslines, then taking a big bump through the ropes to the floor, taking a cool back bump off the apron. The fans went nuts for that, and I'm sure many of them expected Andre to lose via count out. The bump was big enough that Andre not answering the 10 count would have totally worked. Instead, we get something much better. Andre gets back in the ring and immediately pulls the referee into the way of an incoming Warrior lariat, then kicks Warrior in the face when Warrior bends down to check on the ref. It's honestly one of the best heel spots I've ever seen, and it made me think of how incredible Andre could do working as heel Austin Idol. Andre dishes out two excellent headbutts and then does an incredibly hammy elbow drop, clapping his hands and stomping up next to Warrior before dropping it. The elbowdrop is completely protected too, not just Andre falling full weight onto Warrior. Andre takes a ton of weight on his hip for 1989 Andre, and I had to rewatch the elbow several times to see just how perfectly he molded it around Warrior. Andre gets DQ'd after getting a visual pin, and then cuts a truly all-time great promo to really rub it into the MSG fans. 

He gets on the mic, yells into the mic to get everyone's attention (not even a word, just makes a loud sound into the mic to be an annoying asshole), and then addresses the referee: "You know better than everybody else, I win that match, right?" As the crowd loudly boos , a huge smile spreads across Andre's face as he trolls all of them. "IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII am the NEW intercontinental champion!" he says over their loud boos, drawing out the "I" to yell over the intensity of the boos, raising his own hand in victory. He continues rubbing it in while they protest, and he keeps giving the crowd these delightful "Look, I don't know what to tell you, I clearly won" faces while repeating that he's the new champ. I've been laughing at the way he wrapped up the promo for 10 minutes now, as it felt completely out of character. He tells the crowd "Thank you, VERY much" but sounds like a French giant doing a Richard Nixon impression, shaking his head quickly to make his cheeks wobble on the "very" and then tosses the mic over his head into the ring like he was making a trick shot from the 3 point line in H-O-R-S-E. Andre just went out and intentionally bombed an open mic and then tossed the mic over his shoulder while getting the exact reaction he wanted. No bigger legend than this man. 

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sick as a dog--but did just test negative for COVID at least. This match was just what I needed, thanks.

Andre is so amazing. Thanks for putting up late era Andre lately, the AJPW match is a revelation, and he's so good here against a Warrior who's a body. Andre throwing big meaty hooks and headbutts. Andre's shit eating grins. His selling Warrior's stiff armed clotheslines.

Best of all for me? Andre in that bearhug. It was like a grizzly caught in a trap and screaming in pain. Andre, the biggest guy in the sport, had me buying that Warrior was crushing his ribs.

Just checked Cagematch to see what people think of Andre, a guy who gave him a 3 said-- "I've only watched the later years in his career but he was an old, slow, boring wrestler with the trap hold being 80% of his matches and stumbling around the ring and sitting on his opponent the other 20%. Occasionally he would give us a chop or two. Wad nothing special on mic, could barely understand him most of the time. He wasn't fun to watch... but he was big."

It's funny... lately thanks to this blog I've been seeing old Andre, and there isn't anything I'd rather see than Andre doing exactly what this guy dislikes.

5:20 PM  

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