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Found 4 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. High Flyers vs Nick Bockwinkel & Mr. Saito - 3/7/85 All these great AWA matches and I have not even watched one Bockwinkel in the lot. God I love the AWA! They had great characters, brawls and technical matches. After all those bitchin' cage match brawls, this is exactly the break I needed with a fantastic pure tag team match. Who better to watch than the High Flyers, Bockwinkel and "Mr. Torture" Mr. Saito. A little background, the Road Warriors are now the tag team champions and I was informed that Brunzell and Gagne were injured for most of 1984. The High Flyers have been a tag team for about 12 years at this point. Comparatively, Bockwinkel lost the AWA World Championship in 1984 and has not been able to regain it from Martel even though he has had multiple chances and Bockwinkel and Saito are a relatively new team. After Heenan's departure, Saito became Bock's running buddy. The winners of this match become the number one contender. This is just a great fundamentals based tag team match worked by experienced veterans. Bockwinkel takes the shine as the Flyers work the arm. Bockwinkel is great at selling and the Flyers are moving in out thus it never gets boring. I liked Gagne's kneedrop on arm and Brunzell just stomping on the arm. These three have been wrestling each other since 1973 so the High Flyers know Bock's tricks and there is no love lost here so Flyers have no problem being a bit chippy with Bock. Bock gets nasty going for the eyes and bullying Brunzell into Saito. Saito kicks ass with some wicked chops and nasty biels. Saito can't get Scorpion Deathlock and settles for a standing figure-4. Bock pushes with his foot on his ass and Gagne is pissed. Bockwinkel comes in with a inverted Deathlock. Loved Bock raining down the forearms only for Brunzell to fire up with awesome punches. Bock holds on for dear life to Brunzell's foot until Saito comes in to yank him over.Larry Nelson's righteous indignation was perfect. Saito tags in and applies a Boston Crab. Bock stands on Brunzell's head. I love it. The ref keeps catching them which causes the break. Bock & Mr. Torture move to the bearhug and some of the best bearhugs sequences ever made great by Brunzell fighting back and the false tags. On the second false tag, Gagne sells it perfectly and the crowd is pissed! It really builds the tension to the hot tag. Love Gagne tagging Bock at one point during this. It is fundamentals-based, but still chippy. The last struggle within the bearhug where Brunzell just loses it and goes for the eyes and punches Bock while in the bearhug and Bock trying to hang on is awesome. Saito crashes down on Brunzell and Gagne is losing his mind breaks it up. Brunzell scurries through Bock's legs. GREG GAGNE HOUSE OF FIYAH!!! Smashes Bock's head into the turnbuckle. Great movement and energy with Gagne flying around and the heels bumping big. Repeated kneedrops to Bock's back. Gagne is totally focused on Bock's back and Gagne applies Boston Crab. Brunzell is incensed posting Saito's leg. There is a tug of war between ref and Brunzell and the ref. So the ref misses the Boston Crab. Gagne crashes down on Bock twice on the ropes. Nasty kick to the midsection and wicked forearm to Bock's back. Greg is kicking ass. Things are slowing down. Brunzell in, dropkick and a beauty into the figure-4! Saito saves! Brunzell tries for the cover. Bock finally tags out and Brunzell has the presence of mind to immediately tag out to Ggane. Perfect psychology by Brunzell! GAGNE CHOKE! Saito throws Bock a foreign object and Bock blasts him. Bock throws the salt into Saito's eyes by accident. Gagne leg scissors roll up wins the match for the High Flyers! When you think of an ideal tag match with shine->heat->finish and strong face/heel dynamics and snug work this is it. There is nothing absolutely spectacular about this in terms of one specific spot or unique thread of psychology, it is just perfect execution of formula and making sure to do all the little things. Gagne is a great hot tag. Brunzell is trying so much harder here than the Bees and he is great at face in peril. Bockwinkel and Saito are a consummate heel tag team. My one complaint is they let the action cool a little too much before the finish, but overall they delivered a great old school tag match. ****1/4
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