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Found 16 results

  1. AWA World Heavyweight Champion Rick Martel vs Mr. Saito - AWA Winnipeg 4/24/85 Oh how I have missed RICKY MARTEL TIME~! BABY! WOOOOOOOOOO! While this is indeed a great match, we do not get to see that classic Martel fired up comeback, but what we do see is top notch. Mr. Saito is somehow I greatly enjoyed when I was watching AWA footage randomly like two years ago especially his tag team with Bock. I remember really liking this match and nothing has changed. This is probably the best execution of a fundamental wrestling match you will ever see. The beauty is in how basic it is and how they are taking their time to really put over the moves. The story of the match is power vs speed and they stick to it from beginning to end. Martel establishes the speed game early with armdrags, but Mr. Torture wraps him in a side headlock and uses the hair at will to keep him locked in. Martel is trying to his best to create movement to gain advantage and with a monkey flip and armdrag he finds his opening working the arm. They do two great things to keep us hooked in this match. Martel is constantly struggling and when he does get out of the headlock there is a ton of movement before Saito is able to wrap him back up in a headlock or Martel gets the armbar applied. Saito transitions to the middle of the match with an eyerake and looks for the sleeper. I believe Ron Trongard lets us know that Saito learned this from Bockwinkel, but has not perfected it yet giving Martel a chance. Way to protect the move, Mr. Announcer man! Martel sold the eye-rake great and he is awesome at the glassy eyed selling here in the sleeper. Martel finally forces Saito to take a header and it is partial Ricky Martel Time, but we do get a piledriver and when Saito is a pussy about it and puts his foot on the ropes Martel gives that knee a seat drop, which is my all-time favorite AWA spot. Martel hits a suplex and backbreaker to set up his slingshot splash (won him the World Championship), but he crashes and burns! Has his speed cost him the match? Saito is such a great offensive powerhouse rattling off the backdrop driver, Russian Legsweep and Scorpion Deathlock and just looks so fucking boss. In the moment of the match, Martel literally claws into the mat and pulls himself to the ropes. DAMN! That is commitment! Saito having beaten him down with power plays right into Martel's hand with a whip, which allows Martel to use his movement to quickly turn defense into offense with a springboard reverse cross body with the flash pin. I loved how that played into the power vs. speed dynamic with Martel turning the match at the snap of the fingers. It was a basic story, but everyone was totally 100% committed. Mr. Saito brought the badass offense, Martel crushed it in the selling department, they established a narrative early and followed it through to the end, great match! ****1/4
  2. Classy lucha title match. Faraon is such a great but rarely seen grappler, and this was one of those matches where you just sit back and watch a master work his magic. Not only did he always know what to do, he was transitioning seamlessly between his holds like shootstyle grappler. Also check out the way he would create space and defend himself when Atlantis tried working over his arm. Atlantis held up his end and provided some nice dives so I wouldn't say he was luggage here, altough it's pretty clear who is leading the dance here.
  3. While this is a pretty good match, I will be happy if I never watched it again. This kind of match/style puts me to sleep more often than not. The usual great Flair character work helps keep it entertaining along the way. ***
  4. Just a notch below their 1984 matches but still really really good, which tells you about the general quality of the series. It continues the theme of Fujiwara the superior grappler vs. Tiger the superior striker. Snug matwork, good strikes and great selling. Terrific finish as well. **** 1/4
  5. Mid-South North American Champion Ted DiBiase vs Hacksaw Jim Duggan - Mid-South 3/8/85 No DQ Jim Duggan looks like Rihanna at the end of Bitch Better Have My Money. They beat the living fuck outta each other in this battle like they owe each other some cash money. DiBiase had returned to the territory from an extended stay in Georgia and All Japan. Hooking up with Dr. Death and Skandor Akbar to exact revenge against his former partner in crime and the man who banished him from Mid-South, Hacksaw Jim Duggan! DiBiase & Dr. Death had jumped Duggan to kickstart the feud on TV in the fall of 1984 and DiBiase defeated Brad Armstrong to win the North American Championship. It all came to a head in this No DQ Bloodbath. I loved the beginning with Ted making sure everything was legal only to immediately throw the powder in Hacksaw's face and once blinded he was easy pickins to busted open on the outside. The best part of this was Duggan's incredible performance throughout. He was always staggering and always swinging at DiBiase. DiBiase was kicking the shit out of him, but you always felt like Duggan had something left. When Duggan caught coming off the top (patented DiBiase somersault bump) and suplex, the crowd came unglued. You could feel DiBiase shit his pants as Duggan stomped around. The fists were flying and it looked awesome. Hacksaw got into this three point stance and hit his wedgebuster, which should have claimed his first North American title, but Skandor Akbar hit him with the cane. A shitty head collision followed which also wiped out the ref. Dr. Death handed Ted DiBiase the lethal loaded black glove and DiBiase had the presence of mind to sock Duggan. DiBiase was perfectly good on offense knowing how to work the cut and cheat his ass off, but this was Duggan through and through modulating his selling perfectly and really building to the match to crescendo. I have this under the first Buzz Sawyer brawl and the second Magnum/DiBiase bloodbath, but still a bitchin' match. ****1/4 Now if there was just some way Duggan got HIS hands on that coal miner glove and keep that infernal Skandor Akbar & Dr. Death out of the ring and come to think of it I just wished Duggan could banish DiBiase all over again and you know this fucking DiBiase thinks his shit don't stink, but if you are ugly on the inside like DiBiase then you are ugly on the outside so I know Duggan would look better in a tuxedo. If there was just a way to combine all these facets of the feud into one match....hmmmmmmmm....
  6. Hulk Hogan vs Tiger Chung Lee WWF All Star Wrestling Aired August 17, 1985 (Taped July 29, 1985) Availability WWF All Star Wrestling - August 17, 1985 WWE Hulk Still Rules DVD
  7. This was a pure 70s grappling epic with an absolutely molten last 10 minutes or so. The grappling here wasn't intricate or anything, but they worked an ultra tight contest and did a good job bringing the intensity up and down. Most importantly, the match never felt slow or dry, so I'll take this over your Dory Funk Jr snoozefest. Inoki is very dominant early on, running through his holds including a great briding indian deathlock, but then Fujinami slaps him like a bitch and finally starts bringing the fight. I especially liked the sequence where Inoki teases the Butterfly Suplex and goes for a fireman carry. He didn't even hit that butterfly suplex later! Inoki's defensiveness ends up backfiring on him and Fujinami puts him in a Figure 4. The Figure 4 segment eats up a good chunk of thise 35 minuteish match so better have a good book ready. I didn't have a problem with it though because the payoff was strong and Inoki's selling was right on the money. Seeing Fujinami pushing the mythical Inoki to the limit was spectacular and the crowd was surface of the sun level hot for the possible dethroning. The finish was inevitable but atleast we get a massive pop for Fujinami powering out of the Octopus Hold. This went over half an hour with barely a bump in it but it was still totally spectacular pro wrestling.
  8. The infamous shoot. I searched j-web too but this 4 minute JIP seems to be the most complete video of the match there is online. There are some nice potatoes in there and Maeda's final blow is vicious.
  9. AWA World Heavyweight Champion Rick Martel vs Nick Bockwinkel - AWA Winnipeg 3/28/84 This series of matches really speaks to the praise given to Bock about having a different match everytime he goes out. In the first match of this Winnipeg series, it felt like Martel really kicked some ass and established him as champion, which was critical in his nascent going up against The Man. In the second match, you get the classic. Martel starts on fire, but Bock works himself out of a jam and both men are left gasping for the finish line. Now in the third match, which must feel like Bockwinkel's last shot, Bock is fired up and extra no-nonsense. He starts the match on fire, there is really no shine and he immediately goes into King of the Mountain, which is an interesting tact. It establishes the tone of the match that Bock feels like his back is up against the wall and he is here to win. At this point, Martel is going on a year as champion so everyone buys into him so he does not need to start off red hot. In fact that change of pace really differentiates the match from the standard shine->heat->comeback->finish. Of course, Martel eventually does gets his licks in once he backdrops out of the piledriver and we get what looks like a shine with Bock falling prey to armdrags and Martel's quickness. Bock shows why he is a wrestling god by picking the ankle and turning it into this awesome 1/2 deathlock, 1/2 chinlock submission. When Martel powers out, Bock immediately finds a way to apply the figure-4. Again, it all plays into Bockwinkel will not denied tonight and Martel needs to elevate his game. He does in the form of wicked punches to fight off the figure-4 and a piledriver to level the playing field. Bock just keeps coming now with back drops and knee lifts, but he can't keep Martel down. The finish is actually pretty anticlimatic as it is just a Martel back body drop, but Bock was in the ropes, but ref still counted. Bock blasts Martel and sends him over the top rope, weird finish and oddly protective of Bock. I liked this because we got to see Bockwinkel on offense for the majority of the match, which is different from the other Martel matches. However, I don't think it was as good as the others in the series. There was just no real strong hook that kept me invested throughout the match and then finish really did nothing for me. Most people would dream of having a match this good, but for two legends like Bock and Martel this just another day in the office. ***3/4
  10. Hacksaw Duggan vs Buzz Sawyer - Mid-South 12/27/85 Dog Collar Match Due to the out of control nature of the previous match and Buzz Sawyer's moniker of Mad Dog, it was only logical that they would have a Dog Collar match. I liked the dog collar posturing from Buzz Sawyer early only to have him running after Duggan balls up the chain and gives him a good thwacking and he realizes there is nowhere to run. Again, an argument with the ref is Duggan's downfall as Sawyer comes rushing in with the chain. He rakes the chain across the forehead as the crowd chants for Duggan. Sawyer is raking the chain across the open wound in a gnarly moment. Now Duggan cant get away from Sawyer and finally Duggan just lets out this bellow that is so primal and horrific wearing the crimson mask. He opens up a can of Lawler-esque whoop-ass. Duggan hits a clothesline and is so proud of himself gives the crowd the thumbs up! LOL! I love the 80s! Buzz tries to run, but the chain restrains and Duggan is taking so much glee in tormenting the Mad Dog. Is he taking too much joy in this beating? Duggan looks to drag him back in from the outside where he is beating his ass, but Buzz in desperation clobbers him with a chair to win the match in a shocker. Duggan was absolutely dominating, but definitely needed to put Sawyer away earlier he lost sight in his bloodlust, which is a great story. Buzz Sawyer just looking to survive hits him with a chair wins and gets the hell out of Dodge. Neither here nor there in terms of rating the match,. but the commentator sounded like he was narrating a golf tournament and dude he was bringing me down! Excellent brawl not at the level of their crazy brawl, but still a definite Mid-South classic. ****1/2
  11. AWA World Heavyweight Champion Rick Martel vs Jerry Lawler - Nashville 10/12/85 Ornery Rick Martel is awesome! He seems totally pissed that he is even in this match in a really good way. He is just pissed off from the start. it is a really cool dynamic for the usual white meat babyface to play a heel. It is not like he is bad person. He is just having a shitty day and it shines through in the match. So he is more prickly than usual, it allows the fans to be decidedly pro-Lawler without Martel compromising his character. Lance Russell and his partner really play up his unwonted behavior. In addition, it makes for an excellent match and really Rick Martel best match as a heel I have ever seen. This is a very good Lawler performance, but I think Martel carried the day in this one. After failing at achieving the world championship in past efforts, you see Lawler has really put a lot of pressure on himself to win this match. Right from the outset, you see Lawler going for three different types of pinning combinations to keep the champ off balances and when Martel does give Lawler a clean break, Lawler punches him right in the mouth and goes for the pin. Lawler is here to win the title and nothing else. I love that focus. Martel is on edge and the fans chants for Lawler really gets under his skin. Martel tries to fire up and Lawler just makes him look foolish. So Martel kicks The King's leg out from under him. Martel works a masterful match around attacking Lawler's leg, which the announcers note that he had a severe injury that caused Jerry to miss most of 1980. Lawler does a great job of selling Martel's torture of the leg, which includes a variety of stomps, strikes, toeholds and a figure-4. Lawler is kicking him off, but Martel is using closed fists and the hair to relentlessly attack the leg. When Martel misses a seat drop, Lawler fires up, but he has to fire up on one leg. While the punches are finding their mark, he is hesitating because of the bum wheel, which makes him miss a fist drop and Martel pounces on the leg again. Love it! Martel misses on an elbow drop. Lawler is up and it is now or never! HE PULLS THE STRAP DOWN! Martel is great at rocking back for The King's huge punches in the corner. Lawler goes for a running fist, but runs into the ref. Martel wants the spinning toehold, but comes away with Jerry's boot. He wallops him! Lawler kicks out. Now he has the boot and clocks the champ. The ref sees that and DQs Lawler. THWARTED! BULLSHIT! I did not love the finish for quickly Lawler was able to recover and hit Martel with the boot. They were better off having Lawler duck Martel, get the boot and clock Martel. Lawler sends the crowd home happy by hitting a charging Martel with a boot. Besides the finish, this is a hellacious championship match. One of my favorite championship matches, I have seen in a long time. Lawler wants to win so bad early, but Martel takes advantage of a weakness and Lawler has to mount a classic comeback, but a series of unfortunate circumstances means the World Championship is just outside his grasp again. Martel's performance here is awesome! Just great character work conveying himself as a frustrated wrestler that just wants to get this over with, but has a tough time early on and then is just relentless on Lawler's leg. I have the No DQ match with Bock over this, but just by a hair, great, great stuff! ****1/2
  12. This was such a gruelling battle. Maeda maybe a more compelling matchup for Fujiwara than Sayama, because he can go on the mat, and is larger, so we get all this compelling matwork were Fujiwara has to control or defend against him with double concentration. This was slow, but dripping with intensity right from the start. Fujiwara teaching his opponent a lesson on the mat and coming back through barrages of kicks was so awesome. He came across as the toughest, most determined man on the planet. Both guys wincing while in the double leg lock was such an epic visual. The finish I didn't see coming at all, but this is why shootstyle rules: it fit the story of the match, and both guys came out looking like the baddest dudes alive.
  13. I think Choshu is a pretty great matworker, this might not be *the* match to showcase, more of a mat-heavy match that showcases why Choshu was so great in general. I loved how Bockwinkel stepped on Choshu's left leg while holding his right, that's the kind of neat detail work you want to see from him. Choshu's repetead counters to Bockwinkel's takedown attempts were awesome, completely shutting down an opponent's attempts at offence is something I love but you rarely see in wrestling. Bockwinkel countered Choshu's Scorpion Deathlocks by pulling his hair and using everything he could, Choshu countered Bockwinkel's Figure Four by chopping away at him and pushing him off, it was good stuff and the shots we got were all good looking, both Bockwinkel's knees and Choshu's chops looked vicious. The build to the Lariat is great but unfortunately it is followed by the ~cheap 80s finish~ (I don't mind that the finish wasn't clean but that it was lazily done and didn't add to the match). At least the post-match brawling was fun. ***1/2
  14. I wouldn't say it's the best but the UWF 1 style is probably the most fascinating to watch. There is a distinct flair to the matwork and you always wonder what can they do. This is a match I could see many consider boring but I loved every second of it. Extremely minimalistic with struggle over every hold and transition. I loved Maeda's Capture Suplexes and his waistlock slam and the way the much was structured, Maeda controlled the entire bout and won without it feeling like a squash. I found it extremely impressive that they managed to make an over 15 minute match with that narrative work without any twists and turns. ****
  15. So I really liked this, and specifically I liked Brody in this. I pretty much like Lawler in everything in this time period, so he doesn't get any extra credit. Brody sells plenty for King, doesn't smother the match with his gimmick, and has a damn good brawl here. It's too short to be an all-time classic, and there's a bullshit cop-out finish, but otherwise pretty entertaining. This finished 81/125 in the poll, which seems a little low on first glance.
  16. Maybe the most emotional match in the history of pro wrestling. Never have I ever seen a crowd that emotionally invested in a match, excluding maybe only Atlantis vs. V3. It has some issues that prevent it from being absolute top tier but it is one of those definitive must see matches. **** 1/2
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