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Jetlag posted a topic in September 19802/3 Falls match over about 25 minutes. Browsing through hundreds of French matches, and just out of nowhere a 22 year old Dave Finlay pops up in what is maybe his first ever televised match working like a seasoned veteran heel. Pretty cool. The saying about European tag wrestling is that they didn‘t quite know how to do it, but this match had pretty much the kind of structure you want: Fun babyface shine segment, followed by a heel beatdown before a series of cut offs before a comeback succeeds and then a finish. They fool you a bit here by doing a really long shine with the heels making several attempts at starting the beatdown and being cut off, but in the end the structure is there and even the 2/3 Falls formula is integrated well. This was a bit more holds and takedowns based and less about armdrags and ranas, similiar to what we know from British wrestling, but don‘t be fooled the pace in this match was lightning fast. These guys really do an absurd amount of stuff even in a long match, but everything is executed effortlessly. Guy Mercier is a former European champion and legit Greco roman wrestler with a look and aura that just screams tough old man, and while there wasn‘t a ton of extended wrestling in this match he looked like a classy worker. It speaks for the creativity of these old workers just how much they could do with moves like a body slam or hip throw. Finlay also did this cool thing where he misses a big splash in about the first minute of the bout and spends the next few minutes scurrying away while the faces twisted up his leg and launched him into the ropes. It didn‘t pay off in the long run, but it was a fun bit of selling to make the opening minutes more interesting. Once the heels got something going after what felt like 15 minutes of highly entertaining bumping and stooging, they basically focussed on getting the faces to the corner and stomping the crap out of them. Really simple and effective stuff that made me wish modern workers paid more attention to making simple things like a stomp look good, because Finlay had damn great looking stomps here. Another layer to the match was Michel Saulnier, who was grey and a referee by now. The match had some heel ref antics and comical amounts of babyface retaliation against Saulnier, while that is something that can ruin a lot of these Euro matches it was actually executed in a really fun manner here. The thing I loved most how delighted the fans were at the trick the heels used to get a pin here. No hard feelings, it‘s all good fun in France.
Loss posted a topic in December 1996Talk about it here.
Fantastic match. Finlay didn't come to Japan to play games, he came in to beat the shit out of StarBuck, and that's exactly what he did. Finlay was awesome working the heat on 'Buck, and I loved StarBuck's comeback - those punches of his are so, so, so good. Finlay got the control back very quickly by starting to work over the champs leg, which I thought StarBuck sold pretty well, could've been better, but he did fine. Finlay pretty much controlled the rest of the match, with StarBuck busting out some hope spots - but every time he did that, Finlay got something to counter them. The post-match moment with Finlay offering to shake hands with StarBuck, only for him to headbutt the man back down was awesome. ****1/4