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  1. This is a championship match for Franz Van Buyten's French Championship. Wrestling greats like Andre Drapp and Gilbert Leduc are introduced then Jack de Lassartesse ("American wrestler"), one of my European favorite wrestlers, challenge the winner. André and Lassartesse had a big time feud in the late 60's. Roger Hanin is also in attendance. The match starts with Van Buyten having a game plan for André. He tries different tactics like putting André on the ground or using his speed advantage. They work the size difference well and the match is a lot of fun with Roger Couderc on commentary. Now, I'm hoping a André - Lassartesse was taped.
  2. WWF World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan vs Andre The Giant - Wrestlemania III My favorite running gag of Titans was Parv always asking after every Hogan/Andre 1980 match how it compared to Wrestlemania III and finally Pete got wise and watched it. It always got a laugh out of me. I don't really have a new take on this match. I sit right where pretty much everybody who has watched this match. It feels enormous, but it is not a good match. I really wanted to be able to construct an argument for it, but it is not there. It is amazing Andre competed for another three year after this because he looked to be in a lot of pain. I did really like Hogan's selling in this and the general back psychology that resulted from him trying for the bodyslam too early. That bearhug was just long and what followed was pretty lame. Detroit just loved Hulkamania. Hulk Hogan was just so perfect for the 1980s America. The clothesline that knocked Andre off his feet got a huge pop and that bodyslam was awesome. A great spectacle, but too late in Andre's career for a great match.
  3. Wow, this was great! Andre doing a basic chinlock or suplex looks like death. He has so much offense that would be so completely hokey in anyone else's hands but works well for Andre. This really picks up when Khan makes the comeback and goes after Andre's leg. I've never seen Khan work as a babyface, so him having so much fire surprised me. This feels kinda like a man in the wild trying to take it to a bear caught in a trap and having some success but still being overmatched. Still, they get over the damage Khan has been able to do in short spurts, because Andre sells and is wobbly even when he's in control. I love him covering himself so he can't feel Khan's punches anymore. No one really gets the cinematic possibilities of working as a giant quite like Andre. ****1/4
  4. Talk about it here.
  5. You could classify the matwork here as "NWA" style-in that holds are worked and worked over until there is a transition and that transition really determines the quality of the match. Sometimes it feels like a waste of time but sometimes it's worth sticking through it. It's worth sticking with it here. Before the match Andre gets annoyed by Inoki getting a bigger reaction than him and refuses to shake hands. He attacks Inoki's arm early on-no sitting in a hold for five minutes but repetead wristlocks and armlocks that really establish his dominance. Andre easily drags Inoki to the middle of the ring once Inoki reaches the ropes and does a cool hammerlock slam, both of which make for cool visuals. Andre gets frustrated with the ref over.....something, leaving himself open to Inoki who goes for his leg, thereby establishing Inoki could get in control that way. When Andre goes to attack Inoki's arm again Inoki tries to kick away at Andre's legs, but they don't transition into Inoki's control quite yet. Eventually Inoki manages to counter Andre's armlock with a Headscissors-which looks amazing. Andre then manages to cross over Inoki's legs and changes his focus on attacking them. Inoki eventually manages to counter that with a Keylock-another big visual. They do tease Andre countering it a couple of times but before countering it Inoki turns him back into the Keylock to further establish the armwork. Once Andre does pick Inoki up into the air instead of placing him on the top rope like the norm is in 70s matches he throws him out of the ring, putting over the peril of the situation. Andre nurses his arm for a bit but Inoki quickly returns to the ring and we get to the finishing stretch, with Inoki nailing a couple of big Enzuigirs that connected well and Andre doing a Suplex and a ot of headbutts. I particularly liked the Canadian Backbreaker counter where Inoki pushed the corner-post instead of the ropes to counter Andre into a Back Body Drop. Unfortunately politics get in the way here-as Inoki can't even get a visual count-out win, Andre immediately no-sells him and only loses because he started brawling with a remember wrestler ringside, then gets back in the ring and lays out Inoki to get his heat back. Damn that 50/50 booking Very good match based around strategy, though I doubt Andre had the skills to produce anything truly great with lots of matwork. ***1/2
  6. Pretty entertaining match and a cool chance to see young Andre working a lengthy epic. The early going isn't exactly what you expect from an Andre match as he works pretty even with Kobayashi, Andre would do a headlock takeover and Kobayashi would easily counter to a headscissor. On the other hand things such as Andre reversing an armbar by stepping on Kobayashi or pushing his knee in his face become extra compelling because he is so huge. Andre wins the first fall pretty easily and the other two is pretty much Kobayashi beating him down by stomping on his hand, working his stomach over with punches etc. There is a cool spot in the 3rd fall where Andre does a double leg Fuchi stretch and gets thrown on his face. Really liked all the Andre facial selling and bumping including the gutsy finish. This got pretty chinlocky here and there and was a little meandering overall but is worth a watch.
  7. A trios from 1972! Easily one of the funnest matches ever. Whoever booked the near-midget Ali Bey on the same team as Andre had some serious saviness. We start off with some swank technical work between Van Buyten and Teranishi, but soon shenanigans from the apron involving Andre ensue. The interactions between Van Buyten and Andre are solid gold. The wrestling isn't much worse - Andre bumps big! Ali Bey has some hilarious selling, including constantly hitting his head against things! Sugiyama is another hilarious character, and only tagged in for about 3 minutes. Teranishi does the bulk of the work for his team (probably for the better) and gets to look really slick. But the dedication Andre and Franz have to miscommunication spots is something else here. Andre is just incomparable. At one point, Franz keeps getting flung over the top rope to the outside, onto Andre and then back inside. It leads to Franz taking a huge bump to the outside. I like how the foreign heels still remain dangerous despite being total knobheads, as Andre finishes opponents off in a matter of minutes. So yeah, great match that will have you in stitches if you have an ounce of humor in you. One of my favourites from Andre, good showcase for Teranishi, and so cool to see what Franz could do when he wasn't playing babyface. A must watch.
  8. Watching Andre is always a joy and this is a younger and in good shape Andre in a cowboy vest. Early on we are going through armlocks and standing counter wrestling. Andre is pretty good at this and it's real neat to see a situation where normally the guy would be tripped and brought to the mat, but with Andre being so big it just slows the momentum and leans him back a little. Seiji starts to pick up the pace with a barrage of chops and slaps, which are sold well, but one Andre headbutt and Seiji goes down. I love these moments in Andre matches where it shows how much of a force he is. Back to holds and Seiji goes for a grab the head with the legs and flip him over move only to be slammed. Andre works the arm more, but Seiji grabs the head again with the legs and can get him over this time because Andre was already leaning. Such a cool spot.After a bit of the submission Andre reach the ropes and Seiji doesn't let him up but hits a barrage of MMA type knees. Like in UFC when you try to keep someone down. Actually there is great struggle in this match. You wouldn't compare it to MMA, but there is that essence of it being a fight but with wrestling moves. Big bump by Andre over the top, such a great contrast to his bump in 1989 Survivor Series. .Seiji from there has Andre hurt and is trying to figure out a way to put away the Giant, but stay away. Adds great drama, until an Andre big boot and big splash gets two. Seji is able to get Andre tied up in the ropes and just nails him, until Andre's manager pulls him out of the ring. From there the manager slaps the shit out of him and Andre comes over and holds him to do that. That gives the double countout. Post match Seiji makes a comeback and celebrates his draw. Really awesome stuff and it's fun to see Andre do these more traditional matches, but with the giant twist. ****
  9. Andre the Giant was announced as the World Champion but he doesn't have a belt. This is a battle of super heavyweights even if there is a difference of 110 lbs between the two wrestlers. Frank Valois was a mentor to André and was also his translator in the U.S. Also thanks to the commentator, I learn that wrestling was still a part-time job for Andre as he was working as a cabinetmaker. The match is pretty good. Valois is that rough veteran who will use cutoffs to take advantage. I love how he works the nose on André at one time. At one point, Valois is trapped in the ropes, a spot that Andre will use later in his career. Andre is ready for the battle and will wrestle straight. He already use some of his trademark spots like when he trapped his opponent between his legs and made the guy hit his butt on the mat. I will add that I thought that Andre had good facial expressions in that match.
  10. G. Badger

    Pittsburgh Wrestling Stories

    Earlier this week my fiance saw Kurt Angle while driving at the mall. I didn't believe her at first since we had just watched some special about him on the WWE network. But, with that fact in mind, I figure his face is going to be fresh in her mind. Most of what little doubt I had was in the fact that I didn't get to see him! So, that by itself is pretty great but, then today we were telling her uncle about this and end up with the gift of a half hour of old wrestling stories! I had no freaking idea that he was into wrestling let alone have stories! I will not do these justice but, I'll try to tell the best. The first is about he and some buddies going to a bar by the airport sometime in the 1980's. They're sitting there and his one friend tells him, 'Hey take a look over there.' The uncle thinks its a buxom babe but, it's Andre the fucking Giant surrounded by women downing bottles of beer! Turns out he's there with Jimmy Snuka, Blackjack Mulligan, and Mr. Fuji! Talk about luck, you go into your local suds station and bam you're shoulder to shoulder with grappling greats. The second story is about a match he saw with George "The Animal" Steele and Bruno Sammartino. It sounded really wild with Bruno juicing a gusher and the fans losing their shit. The match ended in a draw and people are tossing popcorn and God knows what else at The Animal. George is leaving the ring area to the locker rooms and the police are escorting him because it's so bonkers in the Civic Arena. Then, a little old man gets past the railing and police. The geezer proceeds to punch Steele in the back of the head! Reflexively, George swats back with a clubbed fist and was likely to kill the old man if it wasn't for the cop pushing gramps out of the way of George's hairy fist! Again, I'm not doing these justice as I'm probably missing all kinds of details. Plus there were other good stories like two drunk women getting in a full on drunken brawl in the stands that stoped a match and more. I just had to document these great stories!
  11. So this was a really awesome Andre performance, first and foremost. The amount of sympathy that he garners while making Kamala look like a dangerous killer is astonishing. Here you have this giant of a man that the crowd loves and he takes Kamala's chops and bites and stumbles and staggers around the ring, carrying himself like some brittle big target that's being beaten down. There is a part in the match where Kamala goes for the door to escape and Andre uses all his strength to go after him and stop him, selling the entire time, slumping into the ropes after he's made the save. Kamala is always fun to watch and his wildness adds to the match. What he lacks in physicality is made up for in his presentation and the moments where he resorts to biting and slapping his belly and getting confused by the rules kind of enhance the element of danger. We also get some really fun Andre hip attacks and he comes off the top rope with a sitting splash for a really emphatic ending. This was a lot of fun, and a really good example of Andre working as a sympathetic underdog to great effect.
  12. Hulk Hogan vs Andre the Giant WWF Showdown at Shea August 9, 1980 Availability WWF Showdown at Shea WWE Hulk Still Rules DVD Watch Preview on WWE.com