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Found 47 results

  1. Many of these matches I have commented on in the Everything Else match archives or the Yearbooks, if you will. I wanted to make a record of them all in one place here on my blog though. If you have similar wrestling tastes or just like to read what I have to say, I thought I would make one entry of my recent wrestling habits. It's pretty 1970's and 80's heavy but, we dip our toes into the 60's and 90's as you'll read shortly. Let's start with a doozy! Johnny Valentine vs Bull Curry (06/20/69 Houston Wrestling):This really is an awesome match and the first time I've seen a full Johnny Valentine bout. He and Bull Curry beat each other senseless here...and I loved it! It was really great, simple yet violent pro wrestling. The quality of the footage is excellent as well. So very glad I watched this! In writing this, I did not put a rating but, at the very least it is a great match. The same goes for Johnny Valentine vs Bill Frazier '62. Ric Flair vs Wahoo McDaniel (1976 Mid Altlantic): This is probably one of the few 70's Wahoo matches vs Flair on YouTube. Like Cornette mentions, his physique, stamina, and agility are much greater than in 1980's. He looks like an absolute beast here. There's no finish unfortunately but, the 8+ minutes are great. Wahoo McDaniel vs Greg Valentine (09/07/77 JCP): Just a fantastic match where Greg takes the place of his dad. And Wahoo is cool with that since he beats the crap outta him. Gregster is no bum as he can take a shot as good as he can dish it out. This is just hard hitting no nonsense wrestling and it's hard not to love it. This was a near classic match. Plus look for promo of Wahoo at home, in a cast, calling out Greg Valentine & Ric Flair. Harley Race vs Wahoo McDaniel (02/10/78 Houston Wrestling):This was great 2/3 falls match.I waited a while to watch this since I'm lukewarm on Harley but, this was a doozy. Wahoo just tees off on the champion and Race's bumps are fantastic. Of course his headbutts and knee drops look vicious as ever. Do watch for the fan wildin' out in the front row on the camera side of the ring. He's the guy the fuzz have to grab in fall #3. It's pretty awesome. If you like to people watch the crowd during matches then, you gotta watch this one. It is a bit of a distraction since it takes like 5 officers get escort the dude but, Wahoo and Race don't let it phase them. Loved the finish! The Chief almost had it!! So close! Great stuff Wahoo McDaniel vs Tully Blanchard - Indian Strap Match (05/14/82 Houston Wrestling): This wasn't a long drawn out match. It was simple and vicious. I especially loved the finish (no pins or submissions, one man must drag his opponent to all 4 corners of the ring and touch the turnbuckle). We really need more matches like this in contemporary wrestling. It emphasizes the rough and tumble violence that I think is lacking in wrestling nowadays. Sure there are street fight and other gimmick matches but, there's too much emphasis on spots and not enough on the intensity. The violence of these type of fights should be at the forefront. We certainly have that here. Very good stuff! Bruiser Brody vs Mongolian Stomper (06/04/82 Houston Wrestling): Pure pandemonium with both guys trying to clobber each other. Brody vs the Stomper truly delivered despite not being very long. This was very much in the same vein as the 1990 FMW stuff. Walloping the heck outta each other but, never backing down...Houston looked like Korakuen Hall. Rick Martel vs Nick Bockwinkel 09/20/84 AWA): I thought the match up looked good but, no idea that there was such praise from the PWO community. I was just thinking "damn this is really good. They've got plans of attack, they're selling the specific damages as well as the overall fatigue. Still, its a heated fight with guys trading great blows and kicking out because the belt is on the line." I think for '84, you could call this a work-rate match but, its deeper than that. The in ring story is so solid and to have it almost spoiled at the end..oh man. Martel whipping the AWA strap around like a wild man at the end just capped off this beauty of a match. Classic stuff! Masa Saito vs Curt Hennig (03/28/85 AWA): What a simple but great match. Curt was very young here but, he and Saito had a little program going. It was pretty basic in that Saito roughed up Hennig and he made a energetic come back only to get shutdown. Maybe its just me but, I prefer 80's AWA Curt to Mr. Perfect. Anyhow, Curt does a fucking tope to the concrete instead of the leaping shoulder miss to ring post spot. That's to say he missed 85% of the ringpost and went thru the ropes to free fall and cement! Awesome!! The best was the finish were Saito and Hennig were just smashing each other with punches. More importantly, Masa Saito was punching Hennig...because there were some nice "punches" earlier but, Saito was like, " let's do this proper! " Yes, please, thank you! Rick Martel vs Mr Saito (04/24/85 AWA): Oh boy, this is a great match. Saito is an absolute beast and Rick Martel is just trying to survive. The part where he is clawing his way to the ropes to escape the Scorpion Deathlock is a new iconic wrestling moment for me. Just brilliant! I think this would be an awesome place to start if you only remember Martel as "The Model" from WWF. Rick Martel vs Terry Gordy (10/03/85 Pro Wrestling USA): Rick Martel is certainly a fighting champion and this fast paced challenge from Gordy is proof. This just checked all of the right boxes in the move and storytelling department for me. The other Freebirds are sent to the back and Terry is OK with that. He's going to beat the champion fair and square. Gordy is matching Martel all throughout but, then brings the power based offense to the table. It looks to be too much with the champ taking some hard slams. Don't count Martel out of the match yet! I just loved this 15 minute match. It truly felt like a title fight. Great stuff Ric Flair vs Ron Garvin (02/07/86-JCP-Superstars on the Superstation): Well, these two really beat each other from pillar to post! So many hard chops that it really is a wonder that their chests weren't red. Oh and the punches and slams...man, this was a heck of an intense TV televised match. 15 minutes of fighting, I loved it. People have said Garvin wasn't selling but, in his role, I think he should have been ferocious. He was taking the fight to Flair. A very good to great match in my eyes. Quite glad that I stumbled upon it. Rick Martel vs Riki Choshu (12/03/86 AJPW): This started out with a lightning pace. Then, they settled down into working over each others legs which was ferocious. I so wish they sold this after the fact since it appeared they were really going to town but, it was a 10 min. match. Evenly fought but a little to soon to finish for me. Very good, intense match. Totally worth watching! Just not the heavenly dream battle I hoped for. But the first few minutes had me believing it was real! Wahoo McDaniel vs Manny Fernandez (09/18/88 AWA):Just two big dudes punching and chopping the crap outta each other for 10 minutes. If you dig Tenryu - Choshu - Hashimoto type stuff check this out. It'd be right at home in '88 AJ or NJ. Wahoo McDaniel vs Manny Fernandez - Indian Strap Match (12/13/88 Superclash III): I think most folk remember the Kerry vs King match but, I think this bout deserves a bit of recognition. Stiff chops, punches and blood abound! The big surprise was that Tatsumi Fujinami was there! Fernandez was working in NJ in '88 I believe so, I think he was there to keep Manny in check or something. Well, he certainly DOES both at the start and finish...yes! Awesome little interview at the end from Wahoo where he says he wants to literally kill Fernandez. Larry Zbyszko vs Masa Saito (02/10/90 NJPW) I could tell that this was going to be a fantastic encounter from the very first collar-and-elbow! Oh man! Take note current wrestlers, THIS is how you tie up! The match was a fine example of how to create drama and excitement without running through moves. The holds were credible and meaningful towards the outcome of the fight. Their strikes were stiff yet, measured. Larry & Mr. Saito used their body language (and actual language in Lar's case) to convey athleticism, desperation, and that killer instinct. This was a great match. Nick Bockwinkel vs Masa Saito (12/26/90 NJPW): If you like headlock work then this is a match for you brother! I truly dug the simple focus on the headlock and leg locks becuase you felt the struggle was genuine. Man, two masters going at it for the NJ crowd. The finish came a little too quick but, dang this was a pretty good bout. QUICKIE BONUS: Rick Martel vs Naoki Sano (08/09/91 SWS): Roughly 5 minutes of pedal to the metal 80s technical junior offense. I loved it, it was short and to the point and put over the power of a technical pinning predicament. Thanks for reading!!! If I can get my act together, I should have a few posts ready to go in the next few days
  2. 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
  3. AWA World Heavyweight Champion Rick Martel vs Nick Bockwinkel - AWA Winnipeg 9/20/84 WOW! Until the finish, I think this was the best match I have seen so far as part of my 80s watching and is definitely neck and neck with Flair vs Kerry from August of 1982. It featured some of the best selling I have ever witnessed in pro wrestling. It was not just from Martel. It was from both Martel and Bockwinkel. It felt like a war of attrition between the two best wrestlers in the world. It was a game of inches and they were both so good that it was just going to be the details the decided the winner. The small detail was Bockwinkel's nasty little short jab to the ribs. It was his great equalizer. Martel was so focused on his kneework that he would leave himself exposed to these quick punches and that eventually took their toll on Martel physically. The story really became who could overcome their injuries Bockwinkel with his knee and Martel with his midsection. Bockwinkel wrestled most of the match on his knees and he proves why he is one of the all-time best by selling his pain and desperation throughout the match. In this match, Bockwinkel tries to start the match hot and heavy, but he gets overzealous and hits a high knee to the turnbuckle. Martel just pounces on this mistake like in the Lawler match with toeholds and strikes relentlessly. Bockwinkel sells the agony of the holds in such an engaging way that you never lose interest. Bock and Martel trade blows within the toehold and when that does not go well for Bock; he hits a quick jab to Martel's midsection, which forces him off his body. Bock with JYD heabutts to Martel's midsection. Oh shit, this is my kinda match! He pounds Martel's side as best he can with his good knee. This is just dripping with struggle and urgency. Bockwinkel collapses in the middle of the ring while Martel writhes in pain in the corner. Holy shit! Bock uses the wrong knee on a knee lift and can't capitalize soon enough. Martel hits a kneecrusher! Martel is back to work with seatdrops so Bockwinkel just grabs him by his hair and punches him in the head. He forces Martel out of the ring and is basically working a King of the Mountain from his ass and it is awesome! Martel picks the leg and wraps it around the post. Have I gone to Heaven? Bock saves his knee by trying to claw Martel's eyes out. This was no normal eye gouge, he was getting in there. He puts Martel in a stretch where he can constantly maneuver him to expose the ribs to his rabbit punches without the ref seeing. Martel punches to the knee to get out of it and kicks the leg out from under him. Yep, I died and have gone to Heaven. Martel rides high and Bock applies a body scissors, but his leg is so fucked up he can't hold him. They knock heads in the middle of the ring and it is time to hit the finish. Martel goes for the kill first, but misses the reverse cross body from the middle rope. Martel fires through Bock's offense and it looks like he has more gas in his tank. Slingshot splash EATS KNEES! THOSE RIBS! OW! The selling is tres magnifique. They work through a barrage of nearfalls with neither having enough to put the other way. However, the ref gets bumped, Mr. Saito is able to throw salt in the eyes of Martel who has Bockwinkel dead to rites in the Boston Crab. 1-2-3!?!?!?!?!? Bock wins??? After much deliberation, the belt is returned to Martel. I fucking hate that finish. I don't care if it is babyface or heel, it is just stupid bullshit. It is definitely worse when a babyface wins, you get the pop and then rob people. Still even letting the people see Martel get pinned and not lose only hurts the moment when he will actually loses the title. The finish is the only thing that keeps this from *****, but fuck if this is the tenth best match of the AWA in the 80s, I am in for quite treat! This was fucking tremendous. Small critique would be that they just had one or two more highspots down the stretch to take the drama level to the next level. I am thinking a Bockwinkel sleeper and maybe a piledriver or two. It does not have to be an AWA Jumbo match with a ton of highspots, but a couple more would have been enough to overcome my least favorite finish ever. Enough negativity because this is my favorite match so far. It is a master's class in selling and should be absolutely mandatory to be watched by all wrestlers young and old in the industry today. ****3/4
  4. Talk about it here.
  5. I received my DVDVR "Best of the 1980s Portland" discs from Will. This is disc 1, match 1. (I hope it's alright I'm posting about it here. This will have "match spoilers".) The announcers are cooing over the NWA belt. Rick Martel is given a glorious shine by Harley Race. If you like arm bars, this the match for ya. Referee's Sandy Barr's red outfit seems straight out of a 1970's JC Penny's catalog. There's a great spot where Race goes for a gutwretch suplex and Martel reverses it. Later Martel catches Race on the top rope and flings him "12... 15 feet across the ring" (according to the announcers). They explain the arm-bar obsession on commentary: "Why is Martel concentrating on armbars? He's giving away weight." Note: Portland crowd in 1980 dresses like a Brooklyn crowd in 2016. Race escapes from an armbar by dropping Martel across the top rope. We get Harley Race delivering a piledriver. We get the falling head butt from Race. He takes control. Eventually, Race wins the first fall with a big suplex. The second fall has Martel returning the piledriver favor. Race gets the foot on the ropes. What a ring veteran! There's a great elbow smash by Martel on Race. Falls two ends with Martel putting Race in a sleeper and knocking him out. There's an incredible moment after this where Martel has to decide whether to do the "right thing" and wake up Race. Referee is threatening Martel if he doesn't do it. So eventually Rick gives Harley Race a judo chop to the neck and awakes the champion. Third fall is a time-limit draw. Good match. Martel was massively over with the crowd and Race not only made Rick look great, but he's a lot more fun to watch than I remembered. His facials after the sleeper wakeup were fantastic.
  6. 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
  7. This was awesome. Hot crowd super into Jumbo, and Martel bringing it. Really intense and dramatic finishing stretch - crowd was biting on nearfalls for Jumbo's suplexes and Martel's sleeper and cross-body. Was never a huge Martel fan before this, looks like I'm going to have to buy that AWA set and get deeper into him.
  8. 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
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