Segunda Caida

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

Friday, June 28, 2024


Thunderdome Cage Match: Team USWA (Bill Dundee/Danny Davis/Jeff Jarrett/Billy Joe Travis/Gary Young) vs. Team WCCW (Eric Embry/Tom Prichard/The Awesome Kong/El Grande Pistolero/Steve Austin) USWA 1991

MD: This is going to be a found week. I swear I've seen this before but it could just be a phantom memory or I'm getting it confused with some NWA Anarchy match or something. Everyone's in the cage to start and there are handcuffs set up around the cage. Whichever team gets handcuffed to the cage first loses and the survivors get the key and get to unlock their partners for five minutes of pure, unfair violence. There's also a pinfall stip but it's confusing to everyone how it works even if it plays into the finish. 

Kong gets handcuffed right as the match starts, which gives the babyfaces an advantage from the get go and also takes out of play the biggest physical threat in the match. It's a choice, I guess. There is that sort of danger you get from let's say a NJPW elimination match, where if you get too close to someone who's handcuffed, you can get disrupted or grabbed. That too plays into the finish. In general though, Kong is a non-factor here. There's one solid visual of all of the USWA guys attacking him post match (which gives away the finish, sorry), but in general, he's gone from the get go. Pistolero might have been Gypsy Joe. If that's the case, it's a shame he didn't get to do much either as he's one of the first guys to get handcuffed. 

They cover a lot of ground in less than ten minutes here, though. Everyone gets bloody pretty quickly. People get slammed into the cage. They change dance partners and make some use of numerical advantages when they come up. the USWA side is pretty solid and you have at least Embry and Prichard on the other side, given who gets taken out early and the fact that Austin is green but game. It comes down to Travis and Prichard. Prichard gets too close to Jeff who nails him. Travis rolls him up but he's too close to Embry who breaks it up. Prichard is able to handcuff Travis and get the key. Dundee kicks Prichard who loses the key. Young gets it. The heels win but the babyfaces get free and the fans are delighted by the beatdown that follows. Pretty clever stuff all around. I think there's room for this gimmick in 2024.

PAS: This was basically an all punches match, and luckily we have 6-8 of the greatest punchers in wrestling history throwing hands. If all it is is Bill Dundee and Eric Embry throwing hands, Dayenu. Add that to Billy Joe Travis uppercuts, lots of blood and a crowd pleasing finish. Pure candyfloss pro-wrestling pleasure. I am not sure it would work in 2024, who even throws good punches anymore, but shit it worked in 1991.

ER: I thought this was incredible. I can't believe how much they did in 10 minutes, and I never expected it to swell to an insanely sadistic babyface conclusion. There are seven great punchers doing literally nothing but throwing punches and literally everybody bleeds. The Thunderdome stipulation is low key brutal and actually more violent than anything in the PG-13 Beyond Thunderdome. They did these matches with Robert Fuller and Eddie Gilbert replacing Gary Young (that's a plus) and Billy Joe Travis (that's a lateral and a totally different vibe). I get Kevin Nash being unavailable but I wonder if they tried to get Al Green...

On paper I wouldn't have thought handcuffing every one of your opponents to the cage would work, but then I laughed the moment Amazing Kong got cuffed 1 second into the match and spent the rest of the time hoping someone would come near enough to kick out at. Everyone else was too busy throwing punches. They all looked great, but my favorite bit was when Dundee (who looked incredible all match) finally got cuffed and Eric Embry was trying to line up a punch on someone, but he back into Bill Dundee who caught him with a short punch to the cheek and then a harder punch while he was stunned. Jarrett had tremendous fire throughout, Nightmare Danny Davis always comes off like Rutger Hauer in a street fight in these kinds of matches, and Billy Joe Travis is an incredible dirtbag with real babyface fire. You can tell by looking at him that he's a dirtbag, but the man is a fighter and when he's on your side you want that. 

The finish is downright sadistic. The winning team - the team who cuffs every opponent to the cage - then gets 5 minutes to beat their extremely disadvantaged opponents without mercy. Prichard wins the handcuff key for WCCW but Dundee kicks it away, meaning Gary Young gets it and uncuffs all the USWA guys, who - despite losing - proceed to fuck up every member of World Class to a rousing babyface reaction. This is such a long beating that I kept waiting for the Memphis fans to turn on their own. Seriously, after the match it's just 5 mean being beaten bloodier and bloodier by the good guys, desperate to fight back but chained to a cage, the Good Guys lining up shots at sitting ducks. When the halfway announcement of 2.5 minutes comes, it's already felt like this beating has gone on far too long. This is a merciless beating and the blood flows freely as Team Memphis just stomps on dead bodies like total psychopaths, never once stopping to consider if what they were doing was the correct choice. Ethics aside, every second of this was amazing. What I thought was a silly gimmick that would get in the way of what would have been a better 5 on 5 tag, turned out to enhance every part of it. 

Tigre Universitario/Principe Franky vs. Bello David/Bello Guerrero CMLL 12/92

MD: Deep into the crates here, as Roy didn't even break the matches out of these episodes. I'm going to try to go through each and every one however. Between the pre-match interview and the primera, I got the sense that David and Guerrero were in the midst of a gimmick change maybe. David had a Millionaire name as well and he might have recently lost a match? Luchawiki isn't much help there. Tigre and Franky were in matching gear and worked well as a tandem.

This was crowd-pleasing, action-packed undercard lucha though. There are a few clips; when we come in, they're hitting a foul on Franky and control for most of the primera. Lots of well put together double-team stuff, mostly double clotheslines and back body drops and elbow drops and the sort. The tecnicos come back and hit some flashing stuff including a great rowboat to win the caida. There's some fun stuff with Guerrero accidentally hitting the ref on the outside as well. The rudos got their fall back in the segunda (and showed more exotico tendencies) and everything built to cycling and a pretty exciting finishing stretch where Tigre and Franky continued to work well together (both with an alley-oop into a double axe handle in the corner and the tandem topes into the seats towards the end). The finish had each side getting a fall but Franky accidentally hitting the ref as David kept dodging dropkicks; he locked in a submission but the ref DQ'd him as David was tapping. Entertaining stuff all around.

Bret Hart vs. Ric Flair WCW 2/20/98

MD: Again, this feels like something we would have seen at some point, but it's still worth watching. MGM Grand House show from early 98. They fit a ton into the first few minutes, with Bret sort of stumbling bemused through Flair's act. It's entertaining but I'm not sure I'd call it particularly great or resonant. Definitely entertaining though. That means he has a slap fight with Charles Robinson, trading inverted atomic drops, eating an eye poke in the corner off a break, putting Flair in a figure-four, that sort of thing. Bret got serious fairly quickly once Flair took over, working from underneath as Flair hit some vicious stuff on the floor and a really nice belly to back. We get what I assume to be a brief cut so we never see how Bret gets out of the figure-four but he goes full Lawler for the finish, dropping his strap and fighting out of the corner before hitting some moves of doom and locking in the Sharpshooter. Definitely a moment in time and certainly crowd-pleasing.

ER: There were a lot of Bret/Flair matches that happened, but we don't have as many of them as I assumed. Most of what we have exist as handhelds (I believe Souled Out '98 and the excellent Smack 'Em Whack 'Em title change are the only two officially released bouts) including the great '93 Boston Garden iron man. But almost all of the handhelds was during their long series of '92/'93 WWF house shows. WCW, despite running Hart/Flair within a month of Bret joining the company, rarely ran the match. This happened the month after Souled Out and then they didn't interact for nearly two years. This match is the weakest of the Bret/Flair matches we have, but I don't think that's really an insult. The WWF matches are all great, and while it's been some years since I watched Souled Out '98, that match was at minimum praised at the time. 

This is nowhere near as ambitious as their WWF house show title matches 5 years prior, and it worked much more as a compact greatest hits. We're missing a portion that may or may not be significant (I am leaning towards Somewhat Significant, as the crowd is rather loud through Bret's struggle in the figure four, and when we clip to them standing in the corner they have gone quiet. We could have missed 30 seconds or 8 minutes), and the focus their title matches have isn't really here. The ending, especially, seems a bit too simple: we clip to Bret taking down both straps, backbreaker, Hitman elbow, suplex, sharpshooter with no fight. It was too tidy for the drama they are each capable of. They were both such more compelling during Flair's control segment. Flair and Bret are each guys who are good at yanking on a leg, Bret's inside cradle and backslide were each strong nearfalls, and I popped for a Bret enziguiri while working underneath that felt like an underutilized Bret tactic. The smaller moments of this were better than the broader moments. I particularly loved the way Bret sank to his seat in the corner after getting Flair cheapshots him in the eye, and how he recoiled when Flair did it again standing. 

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also Invasion 1991(2?) Colosseum Home Video match

11:34 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home