Segunda Caida

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

Friday, June 17, 2022

Found Footage Friday: MISAWA~! FUCHI~! SLAUGHTER~! BUNDY~! GANG~! PG-13~! DOUGIE~! TN VOLS~!

Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Masa Fuchi AJPW 3/24/92

MD: For the first 4/5th of this, Fuchi really had Misawa's number. He started out by bullying on the mat, so Misawa stood up, but he pressed him into the ropes to lay in shots. Misawa started to fire back as he would, so he picked at a leg and never looked back from there, spending the next ten-plus minutes just dismantling a limb as only Fuchi could. Every time Misawa started to come back, Fuchi would cut him off with a quick kick to the knee. He kept it moving and interesting too, using a tree of woe followed by a dropkick, a shin-breaker onto a table on the outside, and an STF. The fans were behind Misawa and took serious umbrage every time Fuchi went too far. He couldn't quite put him away, but I like how Misawa couldn't use his first choice of moves to come back. He couldn't hit a suplex so he had to shift to a DDT, that sort of thing. A lot of the comeback and stretch was about him just grounding Fuchi and hurting him however he could. I wouldn't have minded Fuchi getting a nearfall towards the end, but this instead portrayed a much clearer and cleaner momentum shift and that was probably a story worth telling in and of itself.

ER: If the idea of Masa Fuchi savagely attacking Misawa's knee for 15 minutes sounds appealing to you, then you are going to love this match. I don't know who out there would be reading Segunda Caida and also not be into Masa Fuchi punching someone's knee as if were pizza dough, but I'm sure they're out there. I don't think there are that many wrestlers who can make 15 minutes of leg work as interesting as Fuchi, and I think a big part of that is the pure joy Fuchi derives from it. This is not a man mechanically working over a limb, this is a man who is doing his favorite thing in the world and is unable to hide that it is his favorite thing. All of the work before the leg work was really good, with Fuchi locking in a super tight side headlock and Misawa dishing out sharp elbows whenever he had some space. But before long Fuchi is kicking Misawa with some downright evil straight kicks to the inside knee, throwing low dropkicks that are clearly aimed at the patella and not the lower thigh, and you can see Misawa starting to flounder. 

There is an amazing spot where Misawa misses an enziguiri, and Fuchi hops in place with his arms extended, knowing he has a sitting duck, before connecting with one of his own. It's the closest I've seen to a native All Japan wrestler pointing to his head after out-thinking his opponent. Fuchi does some brilliant work around the turnbuckles and ringpost, placing Misawa in a tree of woe and DIGGING his elbow into that knee, then dropkicking it some more for good measure. When Fuchi drags him to the ringpost, I'm not sure I've seen a man slam a leg more gleefully into a ringpost. Fuchi even takes a running start to do it! Fuchi slams Misawa's leg into the post like he's trying to slam his front door as hard as possible after an argument with a neighbor. I like how the legwork affected Misawa's abilities to perform some of his offense, making him adjust his offense to use more leverage throws and just try to flatten Fuchi out to stop him. That knee does not stop Misawa from hitting a top rope elbow suicida and a big frog splash, but the man took all that damage and if he wants to hammer his kneecaps a little bit more on a house show, who am I to judge? 

King Kong Bundy vs. Sgt. Slaughter USA Pro Wrestling 8/22/97

MD: I have a lot of faith in Eric's ability to write this one up, but a few things did stand out. Slaughter was billed as the new WWF Commissioner and a 5-time World champion, which is pretty interesting math. Just having the WWF title one time is impressive enough and it's not like being a former US champion isn't, in 1997, more impressive than having the AWA America's Title or whatever they made for him. Bundy, in a back and forth in the ring, said that people were saying he got the commissioner's position in an unsavory way, which feels quite timely actually. They led off with a good battle over a top wristlock. I was kind of disappointed Bundy didn't end up pulling the hair because with guys of his vintage/era/style, I want that Studd-like dissonance of the huge guy resorting to cheating. Sarge got an advantage but hit his signature corner bump to the floor which looked particularly good onto the Newark ballroom carpets. From there, Bundy basically leaned on him with one hope spot until Sarge pulled him out, rolled back in for the countout, and rolled right back out to toss chairs at him until he retreat away. I'd call this a very competent Bundy performance. He'd interact with the crowd and mock Slaughter with a salute and even moved quickly once or twice when it meant something. The brawling on the floor was pretty good which was a little disappointing because they could have done more with that. Anyway, let's see what Eric has to say.

ER: It is true that I'm the one who pushed to include this match in NFF this week. Slaughter wasn't exactly working a ton of dates by 1997 and the idea of him working a Holiday Inn conference room in a year where his only other match was a long PPV match against HHH was far too compelling to pass up. I also loved Bundy's pre-match mic work, deftly tossing off two major insults in two sentences, one taking down the city of Newark and the other a sly takedown of Slaughter. Every heel is going to insult the local town, but some insults are better than others, and Bundy grabbing the mic to say, "I come from SOUTH Jersey, GOD'S country, not this god forsaken nuclear wasteland NORTH Jersey." That would have been a perfect win on its own, but following it up by implying Slaughter did morally ambiguous acts to earn his WWF Commissioner job was pleasantly unexpected. 

The match played well to each of their strengths, with Slaughter backing up Bundy with nice right hands and doing his best to stick and move. A year ago I wrote up a transcendent WWF fundraiser show from 1992 that was among my favorite things I watched all of last year. This was a show that was unlisted in official WWF records, with a Berzerker/Sgt. Slaughter match the main selling point for me. I was shocked that Sgt. Slaughter did his signature bump on that show, a show that was only being recorded by some dad with a camcorder. Well, here we are 5 years later and Slaughter - nearly 50 years old - is taking that bump as fast and dangerously as ever, crashing and burning across the unpadded Newark Holiday Inn carpet. Slaughter's corner bump is often majestic, and the one he takes here is one of the greats, not even accounting for age and venue. It's a nice turning point in the match, with Bundy keeping Slaughter down for a bit (and Slaughter taking a nice brick wall bump for Bundy's back elbow), and I liked how Slaughter hit three shoulderblocks on his comeback, knocking Bundy down on the third but missing a big elbowdrop to give the control back. I also agree with Matt the the floor brawling was really good and they easily could have done a couple more minutes of that and sent the fans home with a truly memorable main event. Bundy took a nice ring posting and they threw a couple of those rigid hotel ballroom chairs at each other, ending with some nice chaos before a post-match highlight reel makes me want to see some 1997 Cousin Luke matches that I didn't know existed. 

Doug Gilbert/PG-13 vs. One Man Gang/TN Vols (Reno Riggins/Steven Dunn) MECW 1999

MD: If the last minute or two went a little different this would have been just about everything you could want from a 10 minute match. Gang felt like an attraction and got to knock around JC Ice early, with Jamie doing sort of an Akeem dance mock and then paying for it. Midway through the ring broke and they used it to beat Dunn to a pulp. They had a ref distraction to miss the hot tag to Gang, and Dutch Mantel was on commentary so that was fun. The hot tag was good but it went to Reno instead of Gang which was the cardinal mistake in the match. I thought they might do a little bit more heat and turn it around and then have Reno tag Gang but he just came in. There was also some interference around the finish that was probably unnecessary and Dunn made the pin as the illegal man, which was what it was. Plus, the match could have used just a little more Doug. All nitpicks though because what we did get really did work both for me and the crowd. The finishing sequence was brutal with the Vols doing a double slingshot belly to back set up into a facebuster and then Gang hitting the 747. Pretty much an all time way to put a guy away. It's kind of exciting to think what other matches like this will turn up as Bryan Turner keeps going through his tapes.

ER: A very fun match, pretty much exactly what anyone going out of their way to watch this match would expect, only with a truly confounding ending that goes completely against what the entire match was building towards. It started out a bit shaky, with Wolfie having to do all the work to cover up all of the work that Steven Dunn was not doing. PG-13 are two guys that could work a great armdrag bump against the Invisible Man, so it's no shock that Wolfie is able to cover for Dunn. I swear, Dunn does the loosest, ugliest sliding legdrop I have ever seen. The camera angle didn't help, but I don't think there was a single angle you could have shown that legdrop to make it work. The match everyone (me included) wanted to see was Dundee vs. Gang, and Dundee did his usual chop suey cartwheel routine that ends with him being laid out by Gang's nice clothesline. That was the pairing I was most excited to see, but the best pairing of the match was easily Reno Riggins and Dougie. The two had the best punch exchange of the match, and Doug sprinted like a crazy man into an armdrag, and then took two insanely high backdrops. I didn't realize Dougie had Todd Morton backdrop height in him, but doing it twice in one match shows that it sure ain't no fluke. I dug the PG-13 heat segment on Dunn, choking him with the snapped middle ring rope and repeatedly getting the ref to get Gang back on the apron (nice work by the referee getting actually physical with the mammoth Gang). Gang got sent back out to the apron three of four times, and it was clear the entire thing was building to Gang, unleashed, decimating PG-13, Dougie, and the man wearing ICP paint on the floor. Wolfie sets up the hot tag in wild fashion by vaulting up to the top rope (remember, no middle rope) and whiffing on a corkscrew moonsault. It is unfathomable that Gang wasn't the hot tag here, no matter how decently Riggins handles a hot tag. I wanted to see Gang flattening everyone, no matter how strong the crowd was chanting for the Vols. Ah, nevertheless. 

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