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Found 283 results

  1. Sleeze goes back to the greatest decade this world has ever experienced, the 1980s, BABY! We start in style with the big profile championship match as Ric Flair defends against his strongest challenger of the first half of the decade, Kerry Von Erich. NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair vs Kerry Von Erich August 15, 1982 Wrestling Star Wars Dallas, TX 2 Out Of Three Falls The below review is from my third viewing of one of my favorite matches of all times. It focuses mainly on the layout and Flair's performance and I agree with everything I wrote. However, on this viewing, I intentionally focused on the Modern Day Warrior. The common knock on men like Von Erich and Luger is that they are broomsticks that are plugged into the Flair formula and out pops a classic. It can't be further from the truth. I can understand you can be distracted by the glistening He-Man physique and that horseface, but if you watch as intently as Kerry laid one on that young girl at ringside then you will see Kerry was a phenomenal seller. Early on, Flair does his usual bridge escape out of a headscissors and watch Kerry's face, he flinches in pain. Or when he has a headscissors on Flair, he conveys the internal struggle not to ball up his fist and punch Flair to the audience. During the match, Flair is always struggling looking for an opening with short knees or chops and Kerry is great selling the immediate pain. He gives Flair these brief openings, but always fires back up. In the second fall, Kerry is just excelling at writhing in pain from Flair's leg work and really expressing how close he is to giving up. Now, Flair is no slouch as he is tremendous in his verbal selling especially when Kerry reverses the pressure. This entire match is a master class in selling by both men. Each man really is thinking shoot while they are working. They respond to each other and moments in the match in a real sporting manner. Each time, I discover new spots and elements that make it a better match. Such as during the abdominal stretch, Von Erich makes a point to exaggerate his gesture that he is looking to put on the Claw, which really whips the crowd into a frenzy. The crowd was nuclear for Kerry from the get-go and totally rabid at the prospect of him dethroning Ric Flair especially after defeating previous Champion Harley Race in a de facto No. 1 Contender’s match just months previous to this. Flair, as usual, is a cardio freak, but my favorite moment is how he slowly ramps up his heelishness. At first testing his strength and clearly being bested, he resorts to hair pulling to win an over the top wristlock. Another thing, I love is that when Kerry has Flair in a head scissors in the beginning, they do not just lie on the mat. Flair is very broadly attempting to escape the hold, but cant. This does two things, it puts over Kerry’s strength and most importantly, keeps the audience engaged. Flair does a lot of things really well, but he is exceptional at keeping the audience engaged even during perfunctory matwork. The beginning is all about putting over Kerry’s strength. This is accomplished by holding multiple head-scissors, winning over the top wristlocks and a visually impressive arm wrench that Flair bumps wells, which the crowd pops loudly for. Flair gets some offense in the corner, which is Flair’s domain. Besides Vader, I do not think there is a wrestler that is better in the corner than Flair. Flair takes over with a knee-lift and begins taking shortcuts like the aforementioned hair pull. Off a missed elbow, they do a well-executed tussle for the ab stretch I brought up earlier. I love how they made each other work for it with Kerry ultimately winning. An eye-rake (Flair shortcuts) breaks it up, but Kerry hits two pretty impressive dropkicks. Flair’s next shortcut is to hold the rope down as Kerry crashes to the floor, which leads to Flair’s big flurry of offensive: dropping Kerry across the top rope, knee drop and piledriver. Kerry catches Flair with back body drop, but Flair blocks the corner. Flair pushes the ref, but as Kerry winds up for the discus punch he catches the ref in the head. Kerry puts on the sleeper, BUT THERE IS NO REF, here he comes and now the bell is ringing. KERRY WINS THE FIRST FALL!!! Right!?!?! Right!?!?!? The original referee disqualifies Kerry for the punch much to the dismay of the crowd and to relief of a visually exhausted and desperate Flair. I liked the finish to the first fall even if it was a clusterfuck because Kerry was clearly put over as more dominant than Flair. Flair’s escape with a DQ finish in the first fall allows for Kerry to once again be perceived as the underdog as he has the unenviable task to win two straight falls against The Man. Another great element is that all of Flair’s control segments were initiated by shortcuts thus always making Kerry look better in comparison. The second fall rules all and by itself would probably be one of my favorite matches of all time. Flair is still coughing from the sleeper hold and begs off immediately. Kerry and the crowd smell blood. Kerry slaps on the sleeper, but Flair makes use of the Bret leverage move to send Kerry crashing to the floor. Flair capitalizes this by wrenching Kerry’s leg across the apron. NOW WE GO TO SCHOOL!!! Flair is absolutely crazed during this control segment as he clearly a desperate champ doing anything to take down the physically superior Kerry Von Erich. Flair hits the shinbreaker to a physically diminished Von Erich side-headlock. After Flair works over the leg, it is time for the Figure-4 Leglock whipping the crowd into frenzy. Just minutes ago, they thought their hero had the first fall in the bag and now it looks he is about to lose two straight falls. WAIT!!! Kerry had reversed the pressure and now Flair scrambles for the ropes. Flair tries to go back to the knee, but Keryr blocks with the vaunted Von Erich Claw. Flair blades like a champ off the claw and eventually is pinned. Flair’s control segment was fuckin awesome and Kerry sold his knee like champ. Then when it came to the hit finish everyone erupted when the claw was slapped on just when it seemed like Flair had this one in the bag. Flair is drenched in sweat and blood and looking for a fight with the universal sign of “Put up your dukes”. A spirited two-minute intense brawl breaks out and the ref loses control of the match. At first, I was disappointed by the finish, but in retrospect it is a really good to put over the intense nature of the match and it would ultimately setup the Huge Christmas Day 1982 Cage match. The basic idea of the Flair formula was executed, which is to make your opponent look like a million bucks and keep the audience engaged. However, Flair was not always a chickenshit heel as he vacillated among begging off, desperation and crazed. There was an urgency to each fall. Kerry felt like he NEEDED to win the first one and came out hot, but was robbed. Kerry NEEDED to win the second one or he lost, but by the same token Flair felt he NEEDED to win based off Kerry’s stellar performance in the first fall. Kerry played his part well and definitely added more than just his Texas star power. He sold well and worked hard to keep up with Flair and sell the importance of the match. I LOVE this match because there is never a dull moment and the match builds perfectly on itself until the wild brawl at the end. Just a little too much bullshit in the first and last fall to go all the way, but damn this is going to be a hard match to beat in World Class. ****3/4
  2. Today felt like a good day to watch some bookmarked matches on YouTube. I think I wanted to break up the NJ '88 stuff for a moment with some bouts that piqued my curiosity. Let's do this chronologically! Sting & Dr. Death vs Terry Funk & Terry Gordy (NWA Power Hour 08/08/89): I mean if this was more than a TV match, I'm sure wrestling fans would know about this. As it is its still pretty fun with the Terrys teaming up against the Steves. Everyone except Doc was pretty good with Gordy and Sting providing the action and Funk adding that middle aged and crazy energy. Williams did press slam Bamm Bamm so, I mean that's sweet. Fun stuff! Jushin Liger vs Chris Benoit (WCW Starrcade 1995): A fireworks show where they loaded as much cool looking stuff as they could into 10 minutes. It was great until the Kevin Sullivan distraction which led to the botched hurricanrana finish. THAT aside, this was totally worth the watch. Oh, I should note that muted it because I don't care what Tony, Heenan, and Dusty had to say. Rob Van Dam & Sabu vs The Dudley Boys (ECW TV ep. 288 10/24/98): This is more of a review of the segment than just the match. Its supposed to be Balls & Tanaka vs RVD/Sabu for the Tag Titles. The Dudley Boys jump 'em with chairs real vicious like. So, they can't compete but, Bill Alfonso calls Bubba and D-von out. I don't think Rob and Sabu are psyched on that but, the fans are. So, we get the match which is a highspot squash where much to Cleveland audience and myself, RVD and Sabu do damn near all of their upper level acrobatics..and the Brothers from Another Mother eat it. The Triple Threat of Candido, Bigelow, and Douglas ruin the fun. But thank goodness for ECW and match continues and Taz tries to make the save. Well, he at least gets some of the heat off the champs but its not enough and the challengers 3D Sabu. Awesome stuff that made ECW TV must see to me. Misawa vs Kobashi (NOAH 12/24/04): Their last singles match and a Xmas gift for the NOAH fans. This was a 10 minute Champions Carnival style sprint. I was really pleasantly surprised that they were busting out the their A game...seriously if you want a condensed Misawa vs Kobashi bout, you can't go wrong with this! Very good match. So, that was fun! I left off a couple other bouts like AJ vs Syxx Pacc where he's on crystal meth and a Dr Death vs Cactus match because they were just OK. I'm not trying to steer you into the rocks and waste your time. Thanks for reading! NJPW 1988 part 9 coming shortly!
  3. Tim Cooke

    Best Arn Anderson Match

    Watched some early 1990's WCW today and Arn's great performance in the 1/26 Flair/AA/Sting vs Sawyer/Muta/Dragon Master and the 2/18 Flair/AA vs RnR had me thinking about the definitive Arn match. For tags, a top candidate is the 11/19/91 Arn/Larry vs. Steamboat/Rhodes from the Clash. But what about singles? Tully had the Magnum I Quit and Garvin WWW matches. Flair has the Steamboat, Windham, etc. to choose from. Windham had the Too Cold Scorpio Clash match. But did Arn have that one really great singles match?
  4. G. Badger

    Spotlight: Starrcade

    I was never what you would call a WCW fan growing up. I liked seeing the matches on Saturday or Sunday but, I never went out of my way to watch Nitro until the Monday Night Wars stuff. It was WCW that grabbed my attention first with Goldberg and his streak. Plus my older cousin thought he was cool and therefore I did too Quickly, I found out that I preferred WWF to WCW in most instances and then ECW came in the picture and I never looked back really. So, with that being said, I never gave a thought to WCW's pay-per-views and although the titles were cooler than WWF's the cards usually sucked. So, here I am all of these years later willing to call bullshit on myself and check out the best of the best PPV that WCW had to offer - Starrcade. The saving grace of this project is that many of the matches on this list (this is the Starrcade Essential Collection set by WWE) are from Jim Crockett Promotions and/or in the early days of WCW. Half are from the 80's and 5 more are between 1990-1993. Anyhow there's 25 matches and I'm going run down (or up?) the list to see just how essential these matches are. I might give impressions for some, others I might have a review, and even more I might have written something up in the match discussion archives. Let's start Roddy Piper vs Hollywood Hogan (1996): Good match with good action that tells the Match of the Decade story well. Intense too which was a big surprise considering Hogan was in the ring...I mean honest-looking intensity and not that hammy crappola. Sting vs Great Muta (1989): Iron Man tournament match which I saw a few months ago during my Great Muta You Might Have Missed post ( https://forums.prowrestlingonly.com/blogs/entry/685-great-muta-you-might-have-missed/). Shit that was almost a year ago!? Anyhow, an under 10 minute banger with Sting and Muta at the height of blending simple wrestling with a fast pace and a few flashy moves. I liked this quite a bit. I'll say a very good match. Barry Windham & Brian Pillman vs Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas (1992): Awesome action packed title match. This Starrcade thing doesn't seem that bad! This also featured Pillman and Douglas ushering a crash-bang style that we would we would see in ECW and the Attitude era. Not that they invented it or anything but, its in contrast to Windham and Ricky's style here. Great match! Goldberg vs Kevin Nash (1998): The match that ended THE STREAK and perhaps was an early sign of things to come. Goldberg and Nash actually wrestle a good match up until the hi-jinks and Hall electrocutes Goldberg. Battlebowl (1991): I don't like Battle Royals. So, I'll make a couple suggestions. Fast forward to when Ricky Morton & Liger are wrestling each other. Then fast forward to when Luger and Vader are in ring #1 by themselves (yes there are two rings). Then fast forward to when it boils down to Steamboat and Sting vs Austin and Rude (Luger is in waiting so to speak). Then watch the rest of the match and you might call this good. This rated higher than the 1992 tag match? horse shit! Dustin Rhodes vs Steve Austin (1993): Starts of pretty good and just sorta ends. I had high hopes for this but, uh yeah it's very much what I expect out of WCW. The last 3 matches don't seem very "essential" to me. I talk more about it in the 1993 match discussion yearbook. I really don't want to do that again here...if that gives you an idea. Road Warriors vs Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard (1987): Oh crap the Road Warriors...this is not looking good..let's see. Oh man am I wrong! Maybe it's Arn and Tully but, this is perhaps the best Warriors match I've seen. We see a brains & brawn story unfold despite their early domination, Hawk & Animal don't seem invincible. There are some hi-jinks but, it is pandemonium so it works. I loved this match- it was all about selling and timing and it comes off beautifully! Near classic match...hells yeah! Rey Misterio vs Jushin Liger (1996): Oh Rey vs Liger '96, this should be an easy great match! Nope! It's neat but, just felt clunky and the commentary team bury them. This is a great example of how WCW was out of step with where wrestling was headed. It was a fun exhibition match though. Rock 'n Roll Express vs Midnight Express (1987): I wish they could have put another type of match on here with these teams. It was high risk and whatnot but, is really a novelty that doesn't really show what these guys do best. Nevertheless it was one of the best scaffold matches I've seen. I've seen like 4 so...maybe that's not a recommendation. Sorta goes into the realm of Battle Royal matches to me. Ric Flair vs Lex Luger (1988): Here we have our first classic match of the set! I never would have thought it'd come from Luger. Simple but effective stuff! GO SEE THIS!! 1988 Everything else folder has more gushing if you need it. Eddie Guerrero vs Shinjiro Otani (1995): I've seen this match twice and liked it better the 2nd time. Its what the Rey vs Liger match needed to be. Skip that one and watch Otani and Eddie go! Again, I beat a dead horse in the 1995 December yearbook if you want to see that Very good match. Not sure why this is "ahead" of Flair/Luger '88 at all though...gotta give something to Eddie I suppose. Dusty Rhodes & Sting vs Road Warriors (1988): Hmm can't seem to find my notes on this one...I remember it being good with Sting doing his thing. It was not as good as the Tully/Arn match I can tell you that much. I think it was meant to get Sting over since I really don't remember Dusty or the Warriors doing much but a good match and letting Sting shine. Sting vs Vader (1992): People have called this a classic match but, I disagree. Its great but, not a classic. There are a few too many flaws that screw with my suspension of disbelief to put it in that **** 1/2+ class. Selling and the finish being the two biggest complaints. Nevertheless, it is Sting vs Vader - Go watch it for yourself and then head over to the 1992 December archives and see where your opinion falls. Jack & Jerry Brisco vs Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood (1983): A great action packed match. Maybe people don't think that can happen in 1983 here we have it! There were tons of double team moves from both sides. Angelo Mosca is the ref and played his role perfectly. This felt like a real battle in the unreal realm of pro-wrestling! Dusty Rhodes vs Ric Flair (1985): An entertaining match that was kept even keel for some reason. This lacked the charisma and excitement I expected. It felt very average. Eddie Guerrero vs Dean Malenko (1997): Again, I can't find any notes on this one. From memory it started off well but, I don't think it really set the world on fire. Probably very much like the Dusty/Flair match above. They had to give a nod to the feud I suppose so, here it is... Road Warriors vs Steiner Brothers (1989): Everyone was selling and bumping. There were no miscues or blown spots. They did their power moves and throws. What more can you ask really!!? It was a dream match as your gonna get. I thought it was very good and should be in both teams highlight reels. Certainly so for the Steiners as I thought the quality and style was right around what they would be doing in NJPW in the 90's. Ladder Match (2000): This is the 3 way ladder match that was really a harbinger of early 2000's indy 'let's try anything' wrestling. It sucks that Jamie Noble and Kaz Hiyashi (who I like) are in this thing. Its also on the first WWE Ladder Match DVD set so, I skipped this. Sting vs Ric Flair (1989): I believe this is the Finals of the 1989 Iron Man tourney. Terry Funk and Jim Ross are on commentary (yes!). This was a great match featuring athletic, charismatic wrestling as you'd hope for. Both guys really put on an action filled match despite the previous bouts and you gotta give it to them for that alone. From what I've seen here and above 1989 looked sweet. Roddy Piper vs Greg Valentine (1983): And if '89 looked sweet then '83 was sweeter. Oh man, we get the legendary Dog Collar match between Piper and Valentine and it does not disappoint. It was a madhouse type of match where they're just wailing away on each other with abandon. So many visually remarkable moments involving the chain...man they just did it right. A brutal and bloody affair. A classic match. Road Warriors vs Midnight Express (1986): Another scaffold match. This was remarkably dangerous and Cornette takes a bump off the scaffold (dangling) that seriously injures him. Watch it on fast forward perhaps. Again, these really aren't my thing :/ Sting vs Hogan (1997): Sting's entrance gave me goosebumps. Make no mistake though this is late 90's WCW and they have to fucking slip in some interference in every big match just for the hell of it. Its like having a nice meal at a restaurant and right before you finish, the waiter comes over and drops a fly in it. Like "Why man? Why?" It was a good match even though they dropped a fly in it. For nostalgia sake, watch this big moment in wrestling. I never saw it before and I'm glad I did. Hogan may actually out wrestle Sting too! Ric Flair vs Harley Race (1983): Steel cage NWA world title match. I watched this a couple times in a week about 7 years back and recall it being very good. It was nice and stiff but, a little to methodical if memory serves me correct. I think it was kinda long too...could be wrong. Maybe it just felt long?? I decided to pass but, this is a big time match up so, if you're curious check it out. Tully Blanchard vs Magnum TA (1985): This I Quit match was the #1 reason that I spent the $5 at the used DVD/game store for this DVD set. This was violent from the very start...they looked like they wanted to maim each other. I believed it man. I mean Magnum was digging his fingers into Tully's arm trying to pull Tully's wound apart and he's the babyface!! They had to switch cameras that it was so nasty. Visceral barbaric wrestling...this did not disappoint. An all time classic without a doubt. If this is your thing, go see this match. If you gotta buy this DVD, do it. It's worth the dough. Vader vs Ric Flair (1993): This was Vader's title against Flair's career. I bet you know who wins This was deemed the greatest Starrcade match of all time by someone(s) at WWE. That's arguable but, I understand why they put this over Tully and Magnum. Flair. And it is a great match. It is not without its detractors and I am one of them. I watched this twice in 2 days and my take away is this- it is too slow at the start. Vader wants to pick apart and torture Flair rather than just pin him. I get this but, it is at a turtle's pace. Flair should have had a couple pin attempts in there to show that he had fight rather than getting pummeled. It does get good once Flair makes his successful come-back. However, the pacing and finish are all off to me. The finish required Vader to sell the leg being hurt but, he didn't at all/forgot/etc. so, it seemed like an odd fluke win. Maybe that's what they were going for but, it was clumbsily executed on Vader's part (understandable). But that's a small quibble next to the drawn out first half of the match where Vader beat Flair like a rented mule. Some of the appeal had to be thinking that Flair was going to lose...but, in 2019 that magic has worn away. So, I would say this set was hit or miss with more hits in the end. Ranking the hits Honorable Mention: Eddie Guerrero vs Shinjiro Otani (1995) 10) Sting vs Great Muta (1989) 9) Road Warriors vs Steiner Brothers (1989) 8) Barry Windham & Brian Pillman vs Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas (1992) 7) Sting vs Vader (1992) 6) Sting vs Ric Flair (1989) 5) Jack & Jerry Brisco vs Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood (1983) 4) Road Warriors vs Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard (1987) 3) Ric Flair vs Lex Luger (1988) 2) Roddy Piper vs Greg Valentine (1983) 1) Tully Blanchard vs Magnum TA (1985) I'm very glad that I shelled out the 5 bucks for 10 awesome matches. I feel like Race vs Flair should also be an honorable mention as well. So 12 out of 25 matches that are totally worth checking out...not bad. I'm not sure what that says about WCW or maybe it says more about WWE, I suppose. I'd probably thing the latter is the culprit. They probably could have loaded this with great stuff from 83-89 and I would have been pleased as punch. Heck, Starrcade 83-93 would have been more than acceptable. Thanks for reading! At the very least watch the top 3 matches above! I'm so glad that I did. Until next time...
  5. A classic Flair title defense match. Wahoo makes for a great larger man with heavy hands to combat Flair. Their strikes looked great and they told simple great stories for each fall. First fall almost entirely as Wahoo's shine and setting up the efficiency of the Sleeper as his finisher. Second fall was all about Flair cheating his way back on top by using the ringposts and the ropes. The final fall was short and sweet, a classic Flair dirty win to end a very fun and engaging 50 minutes or so of action. I really enjoyed this. ****1/4
  6. Its been awhile so, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite matches. Not just my favorite Dory Funk Jr. matches...nope, these are some of my all time faves. I cannot promise a bunch of moves and stuff so, don't be mistaken. I like my action matches but, my friends, this is different. vs Jack Brisco NWA World Title (01/24/74) This is possibly one of the top 5 greatest matches that I've seen. Excellent mat wrestling for an hour with each fall being a little bit different in style and in story. I can see people not liking this but, one has to appreciate wrestling and not necessarily a load of moves. vs Horst Hoffman (12/15/75) This match is another one of those ones where you can't really rate it. It is simply a treat to watch two masters go at it. A true wrestling fan would want this match to never end. Sadly it does but it rather clever fashion. If there was more of a story to this, then I believe it would be quite phenomenal. Re-Watch: Just a slight re-watch of five minutes or so and man alive, this is a classic. Its got that same chemistry like Bockwinkel vs Robinson. These two are great and this match is a must see for a Dory Funk Jr. fan. You can just see it in his eyes. This is what a world champion looks like. vs Jumbo Tsuruta (12/18/75) The teacher and the student go head to head possibly for the first time in Japan. If this ever shows up in a complete form it may be up there in the short list of top matches of the 70's. The action is there and the story is there to back it up. Dory knows after the bell rings just how good Jumbo is. You have to know your wrestling to "get" this one but, man is this good. Great? A classic? Take your pick. vs Terry Funk - NWA International Title (04/30/81) This was a 50 minute technical wrestling match in the old style. There were plenty of long mat sections of grinding holds and attempted escapes. The only portion I thought was a bit long was the very beginning when Dory had Terry locked in a series of headlocks. The match went long so it didn't seem necessary to milk 6 minutes at the front. Also there was nothing too explosively exciting with this match like something Terry would do on his own or maybe Ric Flair or even the stuff going on in NJPW at the time. This was good old mat wrestling NWA style and if one can't appreciate the holds and the escapes then this was a good hour to do something else. They picked it up and brought it down a number of times and gave the fans their money worth. More dynamism would have been great though but I think Terry wanted to show that he could hang in there with his older brother. Also to note very few rope breaks were used on holds, which is why I mentioned all of the escapes. Those holds & escapes were the majority of the match. I also would have liked some of the stuff to be a bit smoother but that's ok. It adds to the realism. Great stuff! vs. Bruiser Brody - NWA International Title (04/21/82) It's not necessary to dwell on a match like this since it is so basic. This is the primal kind of stuff that transcends styles, moves, eras. It is how wrestling should be done. If you really watch, this type of wrestling provides the base for those 1990s classics and most every classic since. Great match! If you've never seen a Dory Funk Jr. match, I highly recommend checking at least one of these out! Thanks for reading!
  7. 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
  8. NWA US Champion Wahoo McDaniel vs Magnum TA - Worldwide 3/23/85 Steel Cage Match Watching Mags in Mid-South, it was clear just how good of a babyface he was in terms of selling and just connecting with a crowd. Even with his technical execution being subpar, I thought his charisma overwhelmed any flaws. Once he was put in brawls with DiBiase, he could really shine. Here against Wahoo, his offense has come a long way. He is by no means the best, but it is no longer glaringly bad. Couple this with the babyface charisma and selling, he was a potent force. He has just debuted recently and was given a string of very quick wins with the belly to belly suplex, which has been established as a devastating finisher. Have not seen much of Wahoo in action, here he brought chops and lots of them. He was a good mountain for Magnum to climb. In 1985, the story was about Mags. Wahoo tried to cheat early, but Magnum overcame that and then Wahoo tried to turn it into a slugfest and Mags fought right back. In fact, he was kicking so much ass, he hurt himself on a headbutt and Wahoo was able to pull him into the cage. Wahoo worked an adequate heat segment, but Magnum's selling and how he conveyed the earnestness of his comeback was what carried the day. I loved the finish with Wahoo in control working shoulder tackles only to be caught out of the blue with the vaunted Belly To Belly! New US Champion! A perfect way to build a hot new babyface and a superb finish. Not a great match, but definitely one worth checking out. ***
  9. Superstar Sleeze

    [1974-12-02-AJPW] Jack Brisco vs Giant Baba

    NWA World Heavyweight Champion Jack Brisco vs Giant Baba - AJPW 12/2/74 2 out of 3 Falls Giant Baba is just one freaky looking dude. i had to get it out there. Those shoulderblades are something else. Great sporting contest from these two wrestlers for the World Heavyweight Championship. It was a breath of fresh air to watch two men work so hard at surfboard taking the time to widen their base or drop to a knee to really sell the hold. I loved the opening matwork. Brisco looked world class taking the Giant down at will. He had a game plan go after the legs and he was tenacious with his drop toe holds and leg pick ups. The only thing keeping Baba in it was his natural size. When he got a hold of Brisco in that surfboard, he demonstrated how damn athletic he is being able to put a foot between Brisco's shoulderblades in a standing surfboard. I loved Brisco's reaction to the surfboard to start letting the fists fly. He was feeling vulnerable so the wrestling went out the window. Baba responded with GIANT CHOPS! Dropkick and Russian Legsweep score one for the hometown hero. Baba starts off hot, but Brisco backs him into the ropes and refuses to give him a clean break. Brisco is just wrenching a nasty chinlock. I love all the tests of strength in this match. They trade suplexes and Briscos follows his up with a figure-4 to even the match. I surprised they did not go with the quick submission, but Baba writhed in pain for a while before the ref called it. The last fall was very dramatic. It was definitely the best selling of the match with Baba playing up the knee injury and Brisco tenaciously working the leg. Baba responds with GIANT CHOPS to avoid the figure-4 and Brisco does a great job selling these. The Russian Legsweep that won the first fall is used a false finish with Brisco making the bottom rope. That was a expertly laid out spot. Baba hits a clothesline similar to Kobashi falling clothesline to win the match and the World Heavyweight Title. That makes that Kobashi move all the cooler knowing it is a tribute to Baba. I really enjoyed this match as a struggle between two opponents for the world title in a classic game of human chess. Yes, Brisco was a bit of a dick here and there, but overall, it was a relatively clean fight. It is funny, I think if all wrestling was like this, I probably would not be a fan. It is too similar to real sports in the sense that it is two talented performers executing at a high level, but it just lacked that narrative to really sink my teeth into until the closing stretch. That is a minor quibble because what they presented was awesome. If Brisco moving from the mat to strikes back to the figure-4 all the while selling Baba's chops like death. Baba worked hard in this match and was great at providing the highspots. It did not click with me on that next level, but still something I would have as a MOTYC in any year. ****1/2
  10. Superstar Sleeze

    [1974-01-30-AJPW] Jack Brisco vs Jumbo Tsuruta

    NWA World Heavyweight Champion Jack Brisco vs Jumbo Tsuruta - AJPW 1/30/74 2 out of 3 Falls Check out those sideburns on Jumbo! This is baby Jumbo Tsuruta who just debuted earlier in 1973 and was only recently dubbed "Jumbo". He does not look out of place one bit against the NWA Champ Jack Brisco. I just love these sports-feel world championship bout: great tie-ups, leg dives and struggle for every move. Basic, fundamentals-oriented layout let the rookie shine with strong holds and coming back to that hold, lose control due to an underhanded tactic, a nice hot run up to the close of the first fall before Brisco puts him away. Jumbo's home base was an armbar. Every time, there was movement Jumbo was able to wrangle it back on using some great armdrags. I loved the Brisco hiptoss into a Jumbo armdrag! Brisco was great at shining Jumbo up with verbal selling and the desperation to not get hit by the butterfly suplex. I am a big mark for tests of strength and there was some great top wristlocks coming out of the armbars. Eventually, Brisco uses the hair to bring him down into a vicious headlock. Jumbo is able to comeback into a crossface chickenwing, which Brisco uses a great drop toehold to transition into a deathlock with great strikes into the ribs. Jumbo was eventually able to catch Jack riding high into a facelock, but Brisco was in the ropes. Tsuruta sees his opening and just unloads bodyslams (not his badass body slams, but still very good), but he misses one elbow drop. Brisco gets a Robinson backbreaker to win the first fall. Brisco 1-0 Awesome, awesome second fall. Wow! Just a great barrage of Jumbo Tsuruta offense throughout the fall. Brisco works a tight headlock, but Jumbo grabs a kneecrusher and never looks back. He works a great fucking bridging toehold and Brisco sends him flying. He is hobbling and tries to meet him on apron, but Jumbo gets sunset flip into a drop toehold into a great deathlock. Brisco escapes to the floor and JUMBO IS FIRING UP! He wants Brisco in the ring, BABY! Jumbo applies the Boston Crab and is working the back. Then he just throws Brisco around with a butterly and just an incredibly overhead belly to belly that was just an incredible feat of strength. I loved that suffocating run of offense to finish the fall. Tied 1-1. Third fall was killer. Jumbo stays on the back and is jazzed. Brisco is selling it like he is absolutely done. Jumbo applies a abdominal stretch. You actually buy it as a finish given it is 1974 and Jumbo is so excited. This converted into a hold on the ground into an amazing, amazing Jumbo bridge into a bodyscissors working that back! Bearhug! I have never popped for a bearhug until today. Jumbo is fucking awesome. Brisco looks dead. Brisco is desperate and is just like fuck it. He throws a wicked closed fist. I have been disapointed by Brisco working punch, which misses by a mile, but damn that was good. Brisco throws a nasty knee to head in the corner. He hurls Jumbo in a butterful suplex, damn! Robinson backbreaker KICK OUT! JUMBO BACK DROP DRIVER!!! Head collision. Jumbo dropkick he gets up to Brisco's but kinda wiffs and then he actually misses because Brisco averts it. A reversal of O'Connor Roll with Brisco ends up on top to win. Wow! That is how you make a rookie a star in one match. Just amazing work. Jumbo ripped it up this match. He was excited and just kicking ass. He never looked out of place. Brisco was totally selfless in this match. It was a bit too lopsided to be a contender for greatest match of all time, but it was an awesome display of both talents. I have it ahead of both the Baba matches because it had more energy. ****1/2
  11. Easily one of the best builds for a blow off match ever leading up to this one. While it took a while to get going, once it did, it became one of the great tag matches of its time. Slaughter bumped like a freak and even decided to come off the top of the cage, which is always legitimately insane at a time where those cages looked so rickety anyone could fall off of it. Kernodle tapped an absolute gusher and was great doing the dirty work in the match. Some fantastic spots in the match, including a favorite of mine in a cage match where Slaughter knocked Kernodle out of the way on a Steamboat cross body and Ricky ate nothing but cage. The callbacks to everything leading up to the match were awesome. The blood playing off the bloodbath that laid out Youngblood a few months earlier, the Cobra Clutch avoidance, figuring out how to avoid the Slaughter Cannon, which is now one of my favorite double team moves ever and then an all-time great finish. In talking about this with Will and Kris, I don't see how this could be anything below the Top 10 when the 80's NWA set ever gets made, and right now, I could totally talk myself into making it into my Top 5.
  12. Good match but felt like a Flair one man show to be honest. His great selling and the usual cage match goodness carry this. *** 1/4
  13. Generally speaking, I'm not a fan of the Great Muta. I'm OK with Keiji Muto but, the Muta gimmick just doesn't do it for me. Well, correction...the gimmick is cool but, the work stinks. It's dull. I'm OK with the 90 & 92 Hase bloodfests but, really it was a waste of both guys athleticism and talent. I'm sure they could have put on matches equal to Misawa at that time period but, we get kinda-sorta great matches with a tremendous amount of blood. I was kinda bored with wrestling for a moment (gasp!) so, I thought I'd check out Muta in WCW to see if that did anything for me. It was a random thought that I could entertain and I'm so glad that I did. It began with Steven Regal vs Muta in NJPW actually but, I'll list the matches I watched chronologically for convenience. Muta vs Eddie Gilbert (WCW/NWA Power Hour 08/12/89) This has a fucking awesome (and I think iconic start) with Missy getting the green mist straight to the faceplate. That was ruthless but, so awesome of a visual! Unfortunately, the rest felt like bland brawling with a fucking nonsense finish. Gilbert wins by pinning Gary Hart. They go to say it's a Anything Goes Match after the bell. What? But you still have to beat your opponent. I mean you can't pin yourself...oh maybe that's what the Finger Poke of Doom was like...after all of these years...it makes sense...still bollocks! Muta vs Sting (WCW/NWA 09/01/89) A super quick heated start with J-Tex Funk and Gary Hart throwing shade. Muta in full '89 heel mode but, the Stinger is out for blood. The fans are full on freaking out with people literally screaming. You can hear them in the fuzzy 80's audio mix but, especially when they are on the floor. Ross & Cornette frenzied commentary included. Oh God! Sting ate that ring post :@ !!! Ref bump, Gary Hart's in there but, is it enough to keep our neon yellow glad surfer Sting down? Can he outlast Muta? Yeah, I dug this shit. Muta vs Sting (WCW/NWA Starrcade 1989 12/13/89): They were doing a round robin this night. Muta lost to Flair in a shorter match and Sting lost to...shit...Ron Simmons? Just checked, it was Lex Luger. Ah fuck Luger man...nah I mean he's alright but, anyhow...this was an under 10 minute doozy! Sting & Muta were at their peak in terms of blending new high risk moves at a fast pace but still keeping things simple & smart. This was a blast and a very good match. If you're waiting for your pasta water to boil or the pizza delivery guy, watch this! Plus it's Jim Ross and Terry Funk on commentary. C'mon, you know you want to Muta vs Arn Anderson (WCW/NWA Powerhour 01/1990) TV title belt is on the line. Double A and Muta were totally clicking in the ring. Muta's moves were really spectacular for this time period and even more so in this TV setting. Again, Corny and Jim Ross were awesome. Buzz Sawyer and my main man Kendo Nagasaki (Dragon Master) were repping J-Tex Corp. What an awesome stable name! The two competitors started solid and kept building this match up. I really love Muta in the WCW as he can't really do the stalling bloodletting like he did in Japan later on. He actually had to wrestle here so, we get Muto with a gimmick. The Pearl of the Orient or do they call him Crown Jewel of the Orient? Probably Pearl - Hahaha! This was another very good match. If you're digging ROH's TV main events as of late, I would highly recommend this one to you. It's very similar to how they are keeping things simple yet exciting. Muta vs Brad Armstrong (WCW 05/30/92 Saturday Night): This is a 2/3 falls match. This is babyface Muta who was teaming with Sting at the time. Well, had some tags with Sting most notably vs the Steiners at the 92 WCW/NJPW supershow. That was a very good-great match if memory serves me. I'm fairly confident that the Mist will make an appearance by the end of the match. Let's see! Fall #1: They are evenly matched up trading holds and counter holds. The fans are cheering for both guys which is really cool since that's my feeling too. I mean Brad's cheers are the "USA! USA!" chants but, that's fine. More important is the wrestling! This puppy had it like a case of the fleas. I loved it It was like a 70's match with a slower meaningful holds/counter/escape dynamic with burst of rope running or striking which led back down to the canvas. Great fall with a great finish to me. Fall #2: This was a more modern for 1992 style and was quickly over. However, it was still smart and believable within the context of the match and each wrestler's standing. Do we see the mist?? Gonna have to watch and find out! I would say this fall was very good. Frankly, I don't know why this wasn't a single fall match. Well, maybe they wanted to fill time with this match since it was the show's main event. They probably got the signal to wrap it up sometime into the second fall. That's just a business perspective and probably the truth of the matter. If this was give the PWG "Go as long as you fucking want" treatment this could have been a lost '92 classic. Seriously, these guys were so athletic and on point that they could have done a true 2/3 falls banger. Nevertheless, this was still a very good-great match overall. Like ***3/4+ type of rating. Muta & Hulk Hogan vs Hellraisers (Hawk & Power Warrior) (NJPW 09/23/93): This may be the only time I review a Hogan match but, I'll be darned if this wasn't a good tag match. I can't say there was anything tremndously remarkable than the finish but, they did a good job. Don't get your hopes up about Hogan in Japan though. It's not like he turns into Stan Hansen but, he DRAMATICALLY tones the schtick down but, that fucker can help but ham it up by looking to the crowd at times. He knows he shouldn't do it too because he catches himself and stops. I liked that part in an ironic way. Like let's see if he can hold it together Still, this was a good match that was very much in the 90's NJ heavyweight style but, what could have been a dream match felt like a mid card exhibition. BUT! If you're looking for something with low emotional investment, low attention required, and familiar face, I cannot recommend this match any higher. For all the brown feces I'm throwing at the Hulkster, he was completely adroit in this match. Muta vs Steve Regal (08/03/97 NJPW): It's Japan so we get the extended Muta entrance. His music sounds like the Coast to Coast AM bumper music Awesome! Muta is rocking the NWO facepaint which looks cool from far away but, up close, it is only a reminder of a shitty period of shitty shit. This was a very good match (surprised at the time) but, they could have done a bit more with this. It seems like Muta found a good place in 89-90 and never moved from there. The highlight was Regal open hand palm striking Muta in the mush. Also somebody ought to look into the legality of the Mist. Right after they look at Abby's fork and Sheik's spike... BONUS: Muta, Sanada & Yasu vs Chris Sabin, Kazarian & Christopher Daniels (TNA Lockdown 2014): This was tons of fun!! Muta is at the tail end of his career but, the TNA stars keep him in the match by taunting and mocking him. So, when he finally pops on and hits his signatures it feels meaningful rather than, "Hey remember this guy? Watch him do some moves every 145 lb. guy on the Indy circuit does a week after finishing school." That is good. That's how you show respect but, also keep order. Anywho...5 talents in the ring, 10 minutes, this was an excellent popcorn match. This was a really fun and unexpected journey. Nothing was mindbogglingly awesome but, perceptions of Muta were changed. I'll say that's pretty remarkable! I encourage anyone interested to watch the above matches. There are a few other '89 Muta matches floating around that I might check out because, darn it! They're just a bunch of fun. Thanks for reading!
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