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  1. How's that for an all-star babyface team? It may be the best North-South Connection there never was. In some alternate universe we probably get an awesome Duggan/Murdoch North-South Connection v Koko/Eaton Midnight Express match that Joel Watts left the film reel of in his car to be destroyed by Louisiana sunlight. There were very many Dick Murdoch and Jim Duggan punches thrown in this, a bunch of different variations, from body shots to jabs and straight rights and Murdoch's awesome fist drop. The beefies provided some fun beefy moments and I completely blanked on Kamala hitting a splash off the top rope. The parts where we got two fatties crashing into each other looked great and morbidly obese Kareem Muhammad taking big bumps through and over the ropes will always look impressive. Duggan stamps his foot while Murdoch does his little hoedown jig, then Akbar's stable hits the ring as Duggan throws haymakers and Murdoch pops folk with a knuckle duster. Fun little brawl with a raucous crowd and you never scoff at that Murdoch/Duggan team.
  2. This was sort of the babyface version of Murdoch v Afa; not as much of a total carry job as Nightmare is a plenty fun stooge and holds up his own end fine, but it's largely built around Murdoch shtick and working towards big payoffs to it. First few minutes are all about him going to punch the Nightmare and the ref' stopping him. He cocks his fist, the crowd are ready...and Fergie steps in to remind him that a closed fist is illegal. Nightmare survives again and again because the ref' is trying to enforce the rules. Murdoch isn't happy about it but he plays along and tries to do things clean. Of course the Nightmare doesn't care about that and throws a bunch of cheap little forearms and punches out of tie-ups. After a little while the crowd are itching for Murdoch to just throw a punch and the heat for him repeatedly being stopped just builds and builds. You could probably argue that it put more heat on the referee than the Nightmare, because folks were very loudly booing Carl Fergie, but you forget all that when Murdoch leapfrogs an onrushing Nightmare, cocks his fists and then pops him in the mouth on the way back. Nobody works like that anymore and I know it's because wrestling isn't remotely the same in 2019, but it's always fun to see one single punch draw a bigger reaction than most nearfalls today. They also do the spot later where Murdoch winds up the arm for one big shot, then as he goes to throw it the ref' grabs the arm so Murdoch casually pops Nightmare with the other hand. Murdoch grabbed him by the eye holes in the mask and peppered him with punches, spun the mask around so Nightmare couldn't see and wound up falling out the ring, Murdoch sporadically ducked out to the floor so he could chase Eddie Gilbert; he ran through a bunch of hits and it's a show I'll never get tired of. I love as well how babyface Murdoch in Mid-South wasn't afraid to acknowledge his salty past. He tried to play it by the book earlier, but when Gilbert came in swinging that cane you knew Murdoch wouldn't be above using it himself if it fell to him. He did it nonchalantly, with a shrug of the shoulders, like Gilbert should've known better than to think ol' Dickie wouldn't stoop to his level.
  3. 1994 CMLL is a strange beast. There are things like the Dandy/Llanes feud and...for the longest time that's pretty much all anybody had talked about in any great detail. Basically nothing else. Even then it's been about ten years since I watched the title match and I barely remember a thing about it now. Then a while back the Casas/Cota hair match got some pimping. Cota was a revelation on the Lucha 80s set and since then I've checked out some of his post-prison run. By the mid-90s the ship had probably long sailed on him having something like the Rocca title match, but he was still a ton of fun and the apuestas with Casas is one of those matches I've been looking forward to for a while. I guess this was where the feud started. I don't know what Cota did to get under Casas' skin but before the bell even rang Casas had him dragged to the floor. It promised a hate-filled brawl that they never really delivered on, at least not during the primera. They never quite went for each other's throat, instead settling down a bit and trying to work a semi-clean match. The exchanges were still rough though, and more than once tempers flared and someone would come in to take a swing. Cota was such a weird looking guy at this point in his career. He had the incredible afro, the signature hand gesture with missing finger on the front of his singlet, chicken legs and dinner lady arms, he looked like a malnourished Conway Twitty who'd stab you for a sandwich. In addition to his beef with Casas he didn't particularly care for Dandy, or his own partner, or pretty much anybody in the general vicinity. When he took an accidental dropkick from Silver King he'd had all he could take. You knew something was about to go down when he came back out scowling a minute later, and sure enough he brought with him a knuckle duster. Match ends in a DQ when Casas takes it from him and gives him a shot to the head (after Cota had given Dandy a whack in the ribs and laid out Silver King with a right hook), but the post-match with Casas trying to maul him was probably the best part of the whole thing. If Casas wasn't yet the untouchable king of Arena Mexico he'd become you couldn't tell from the way the people were behind him. When Casas was out for blood, the people were out for blood, and the referees could get fucked as well. Dandy grabbing both of them by the ear and dragging them away so Casas could continue the beating unimpeded was an awesome little touch, particularly when you consider the history of those two. That they stood raising each other's hand in the middle of the ring while Cota looked on bloody and bitter was a pretty good indication of how much piss he'd boiled.
  4. I'd somehow never seen this. I've seen Flair v Garvin as a pairing enough times that it's not exactly fresh anymore, but I was looking forward to this after watching the build up on TV. The previous week as Garvin was doing a post-match interview at the booth, Flair came out doing his usual bit about being the world's heavyweight wrestling champion and that Garvin should know better than to interrupt his interview time (even though it was Flair who interrupted Garvin's). Flair talked up Jim Crockett as being the best wrestling promoter in the world but questioned how great the SuperStation Championship Challenge Series really could be when the world champ wasn't wrestling on TV. Garvin said he'd be up the challenge if Flair really wanted one and so Flair said he'd buy the full hour next week just to beat up Garvin on TV. Then earlier in this show Flair came out in his robe, talking about all the women who want to be with him, saying he's so high on being Ric Flair every day that he might just keep doing this for another twenty years (boy he wasn't kidding, was he?). He's in high spirits and loving life as Jim Crockett Promotions heads into the year 1986, with him as the heavyweight champion of the world. Then we get to this at the end of the show, and what a way to close out the year. I thought it fucking ruled. My favourite Flair is the one who gets pissed off and surly. The one who knows his title's in jeopardy and will fight to keep it. The one who's beyond begging off and ready to scrap with whoever he's up against. Sometimes we'll get brief glimpses of it during those longer title defences where he rolls into town and wrestles the local babyface. Sometimes he'll abuse Ricky Morton and punch him in his broken nose. Sometimes him and Terry Funk will tear each other to ribbons. This was about 90% that Flair and it felt as much like a fight as anything he was ever in. There were a few moments where they'd set up a rope-running spot by grabbing a headlock, Flair took his upside down turnbuckle bump and once he did in fact beg for mercy as he backed into the corner...but for the most part they tore strips off each other. It had a bit of Garvin working a keylock early and there was a little Flair arm work that was inconsequential...but for the most part they lit each other up. Flair was agitated from the start and every strike exchange felt violent; not just the chops and punches but the parts where they were rolling around on the mat clawing at each other's face or tearing hair out. Garvin was throwing some awesome heabutts, Flair threw his knees to the gut, Garvin bit him in the forehead, Flair dropped his shin on Garvin's face. Flair's mounted strikes were great, the way he had his whole weight high across Garvin's chest as he pelted him with these nasty little rabbit punches. At one point Garvin just wrapped his hands around Flair's throat and dragged him to the mat, then slapped him really hard across the face. It was gritty and uncooperative and they never gave each other a second's peace. When Flair shouts that it's time to go to school it doesn't feel like his usual shit-talking. He's had enough of Garvin and now we get to see why he's the world champ. Too often that Flair - the one who looks every bit The Man he says he is on a microphone - will make only fleeting appearances, and it's a shame because he's exceptional when he's beating the brakes off someone. Towards the end he never bothered trying to set up the string of babyface nearfalls, never bothered having Garvin put him in his own figure-four, never bothered getting slammed off the top. They just stuck to the brawling and it was all the better for it. Great little fight.
  5. You could argue it was done with a touch of humiliation in mind as well. They’ve obviously been sniping about armbars on twitter so if nothing else you can look at it as a “this is how you REALLY apply an armbar” thing. And she did sort of pummel her a bit as well (a few of her body shots had some extra mustard and looked much better than usual). I’d also tend to agree with the general point, but this wasn’t a suplex or a snapmare or some dumb shit. So I’m alright with it.
  6. I've been watching a bunch of Tully lately, mostly in singles during the peak Crockett run, so I wanted to check out some Tully/Gino Dynamic Duo stuff and see where he was at in '81. By the US title run he was a perfect little weasel who always managed to come across as dangerous and legit at the same time. He'd go after a guy like a swarm of angry bees and even if you wanted to smack him in the mouth there was no question he was as good as he said he was. He hadn't quite perfected that at this point, but you could see the makings of it. Interestingly he was sort of placed in the Arn role here as Gino worked this as a sniveling coward who wanted no part of Manny and even less of Mil. Gino's shtick was totally over the top and awesome and, other than one bit where he and Tully shared a reassuring embrace outside the ring, it was Gino who garnered most of the heat on his own. He'd come in to throw a cheapshot, then the babyface would spot him and so he'd just bolt out of the ring. He wanted a piece of Mil, then when Manny obliged and tagged him in Gino ran straight over and tagged in Tully. At one point Mil chased him all around the ring and ringside area as Gino scarpered for his life. Mil was really fun in this as well. He had a great double noggin-knocker spot, threw a bunch of cool flying forearms, had Tully locked in tight with his headscissors and those nifty spinning headstand takeovers, then he played face in peril for a bit and gave the heels more than I was expecting. Mil even doing the job at the end was a bit of a holy shit moment because I don't know if I've ever actually seen that before. When Tully and Gino were setting up the finish I thought for sure it was going to be reversed, but then they went all in on it and not only did Gino escape without receiving his comeuppance, he pinned Mil himself (well, with a little help first)! Post-match Mil cuts a scathing promo in Spanish - like an angrier, teary-eyed version of your Onita classic - and I'm assuming there was a blowoff to this that's buried somewhere in that Houston footage we'll probably never see. Pre-Crockett Tully is kind of a blind spot for me so I guess I should watch a bunch of Dynamic Duo tags now?
  7. If someone could continue posting clips of Batista being Batista in here each week so I don’t need to bother Sky+’ing the show that would be tremendous, thanks and god bless you all. I may watch the Helmsley promo out of morbid curiosity. Maybe the Rousey stuff as well. We’ll see if I have any whisky left at home.
  8. KB8

    What are you watching?

    All of the Horsemen-related stuff at Starrcade was at least decent. Arn/Ole v Wahoo/Billy Jack was a fine enough tag match that lacked a higher gear. It was a couple days ago that I watched it and I don't remember much in specific. And and Ole worked the arm, Wahoo threw chops, Haynes got to do a few impressive power spots, etc. Magnum/Tully is still a grizzly masterpiece of a thing and one of the definitive brawls in US wrestling history. Man Tully was incredible in it. He had to go to depths of himself that he never knew existed just to be rid of Magnum and you fully believed he was willing to stab him in the face with that chair leg. I hadn't watching this in about fifteen years and I forgot how gruesome the actual finish is. That was a fucking horror show and it looked like Magnum was trying to cut Tully's face off. I wrote about it in more detail on my stupid blog but either way it's a tremendous bit of the pro-wrestling. Flair/Dusty main event was actually more enjoyable than I was expecting. I'd seen it before ages ago but it's not really a Flair match-up I ever loved. Still, I thought it was good, probably even really good in points. The stuff with Dusty's bad leg worked well and him going after Flair's leg made sense from a revenge standpoint. They had a few dopey moments where it looked like Flair was trying to set some stuff up, but on the whole I liked it fine and the Dusty Finish was done well. Too many awesome promos in the aftermath to go through them all, but Flair's from the 12/7 episode of Mid-Atlantic is a doozy. It's where that "learn to love it, because it's the best thing going today" bit that WWE have put in a million Flair montages comes from. He compares himself to J.R. Ewing from the show Dallas as people thought he was done for as the world champ, but sure enough he's back and still number 1 (Tommy Young's explanation for the Starrcade finish during one of these TV segments is excellent, btw. Imagine Hebnar doing something like this? Fucking hell). On one episode of World Championship Wrestling he comes out with about two grand in bills, gives Tony $300 to take the wife out to dinner, leaves a few hundred at the desk so Magnum can buy himself a new wardrobe, and the rest goes to Dusty so he can buy himself a plane ticket out of Atlanta to anywhere else in the world. Then on a more serious note he's been disrespected by Dusty and now he's coming after that leg for real. At one point someone in the crowd heckles him and he turns to him and says, "You keep your mouth shut, I'm not taking her home no matter whatcha say!" Towards the end of the year he does an interview where he says his private secretaries have received thousands of letters from women all around America asking for Ric Flair in their stocking for Christmas. We get crowd shots of a bunch of young women in the crowd and Flair goes: "Put that camera back on me, buddy, those girls like looking at ME." There's an awesome segment as well where he comes out and congratulates Jim Crockett for being an exceptional wrestling promoter, but questions the seriousness of the Superstation Championship Challenge Series when the World Champ isn't wrestling on TV. Ron Garvin happens to be there and Flair basically says Garvin needs to know his place and book it whenever the champ comes out for his interview time (even though it was Flair who interrupted Garvin's interview in the first place). Garvin then throws down the challenge for next week, if Flair really is interested in wrestling on TV. Flair says he'll pay for the whole damn hour and so the final episode of the year is set for Flair v Garvin. The TV title tournament is set to go ahead soon and Arn and Tully are both in it. Arn believes he's the rightful TV champ and guarantees he will be again after the tournament. He wrestles Josh Stroud on TV (12/21 episode of WCW) and basically takes his arm apart for a few minutes before putting him away with the Gordbuster. Stroud is a pretty hulking big dude who's fairly shredded and Arn says before the match that he'll show folks how technique trumps brawn. On that same show Dusty cuts an unbelievable promo where he's way quieter than he's been recently. Ric Flair says he's the baddest, Arn Anderson says he's the baddest, Ole Anderson says he's the baddest...but the real baddest is the cowboy from Austin, Texas and he's coming for Flair's title. He proved that Flair can be pinned and he'll do it again. There are a few more matches and interviews from '85 to go, plus there's that December 29th Pro Wrestling USA special on the Network with a Flair/Dusty and Magnum/Tully, and then it'll be onto '86. Crockett was on such a role around this point and the Horsemen haven't even hit their stride yet. They're becoming more of a unit on TV and the likes, including a tag match that's being promoted for a Greensboro show where Flair and Tully are teaming against Dusty and Magnum, but they aren't all the way there yet. I may end up watching more than just the Horsemen stuff from '86 because the Midnights have jumped over and I expect the weekly TV to be strong. If the full year of World Championship Wrestling is on the Network that may be worth diving into... Either way this set is tremendous and a ridiculously easy watch. I blew through nearly two discs on Saturday (~5 of footage across both discs) and I can't remember the last time I did that. The combination of matches, promos and angles really is great.
  9. Echoing the sentiments that IRS is a pretty yucky squash match wrestler. The chin lock where he’d sort of half-arsedly put his foot on the rope for leverage, rarely doing anything interesting at all, still coming out the back end of a three minute snooze sweating profusely. You’d think a guy who wore a tie and suspenders in the ring and worked as a heel would find a couple interesting ways of parlaying it into getting some heat (like, choke a guy with your suspenders there, Irwin!), but nah, just pedestrian stuff that felt like eight minutes instead of three. By ‘94 Michaels had become a fun squash wrestler and had an awesome piledriver that he’d roll out every now and then. He’d act real cocky, his opponent would get a couple shots in, Michaels would ramp up the nastiness a bit, then he’d get even more cocky when he inevitably won. Agree on Bam Bam being really fun too and of course Yoko would absolutely crush a poor guy on the regular.
  10. This whole thing was great, from Flair's pre-match interview to the post-match angle with Dusty. Crockett asks Flair if he hears footsteps, if he might be afraid of the returning Dusty Rhodes, and for a second there I thought Flair might actually smack the little goof. Who does he think he is? Flair's the world champion and he doesn't fear anybody, not Dusty Rhodes and especially not his protege Sam Houston. The match itself was a quality little nine minutes. Flair was at the absolute peak of his powers in '85, really made Houston look like a million bucks here, but he didn't give him seven of the nine minutes, there was no begging off in the corner, no pleading with God for a reprieve from the mighty Sam Houston. Houston obviously got his offence in, but most of it came off of reversals or when he played up his quickness, sort of catching Flair by surprise. You can even construct a narrative if you like that Flair was taking his challenger too lightly. Either way Houston was really snappy when grabbing a headlock, quick to catch Flair getting to his feet with a dropkick, dropping behind him off a suplex attempt for a roll-up, never afraid to lay into him when Flair would throw chops. There was a cool bit as well where he took Flair down with a really slick drop toe hold, and when you're thinking it's time for the spot where Flair's opponent puts him in the figure-four, Houston just dropped the knee across his leg a few times instead. It was a little thing, but one you appreciate when you've seen twelve thousand Flair matches. That Flair actually sold the leg right through til the end was a nice touch as well. For his part Flair was really fun getting annoyed and throwing Houston out the ring, treating him with a sort of disdain because Sam Houston shouldn't be giving the world champ this much trouble on TV. The finish ruled too. Flair had already gone for one suplex and almost got caught, but then Houston went for broke with a cross body and wound up crashing. Flair really soaked in the moment before hitting that big vertical suplex, shouting something at a fan before holding Houston up there for a few extra seconds. He was still limping a little, but he showed Houston how you really go after a guy's leg and it was somewhat of a rarity that the figure-four was applied with no build up. It was treated as a match-ender and Flair wielded it as a weapon. The post-match with Dusty coming out wearing his special boot was molten, too. He gave Arn a kick in the ribs and would've done the same to Flair if he hadn't hightailed it. Sam Houston is one thing, but maybe he's not quite ready for a pissed off son of a plumber. Crockett was red hot at this point and they were going through one of those periods where everything was clicking. They couldn't have built up the main matches for Starrcade any better.
  11. I thought this was a blast, especially during the babyface shine. Lawler's quick piledriver, Wolfie's sell of it, Jamie throwing an epic tantrum, Lawler popping him in the mouth; just a great little sequence. This also felt like a fully-formed tag (aside from the crazy run-in finish, obviously), whereas a few of the tags on previous shows have had flashes of it before being cut short.
  12. KB8

    [1997-02-22-ECW-Cyberslam] Raven and The Sandman

    Not really sure what's going on here. Did they ever explain why Sandman's kid flipped back to his old man's side again? Because I think Raven in his earlier promo was still going on about how Tyler had ditched Sandman for being a shitty dad or whatever. I don't know, fuck it.
  13. KB8

    [1997-02-22-ECW-TV] Raven promo

    Yeah, this went on forever and was all over the place. Raven's just about my least favourite prominent ECW wrestler and this was a very Raven segment.
  14. The Sabu/Taz pull-apart was nicely heated, I though. Taz casually stepping out the way of Sabu's dive at the end was cool as well. Douglas does nothing for me and overly literal feels like a pretty apt description. No idea what half of Candido's promo was about, but I found his delivery sort of amusing if nothing else.
  15. KB8

    [1997-02-22-ECW-TV] Interview: Team Taka

    This was definitely pretty amusing. KDX are a worthy addition to any stable so Stevie and the Meanie chose wisely.