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[1996-03-24-WCW-Uncensored] Steven Regal vs Fit Finlay


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  • 3 weeks later...

Awesomely stiff and kinda shocking at times in its brutality. The crowd doesn't really know what to make of it. You do wish they had been able to go to the 30-minute draw as planned before Regal's nose got all bloody, as it might have then gone from a very good match to a great one.

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  • 2 years later...

The only reason I saw this ppv was because there was something wrong with our cable and everything on ppv that weekend was showing free. I didn't appreciate Regal back then the way I do now. I remember liking the opener and then thinking I was going to get one of those 15 minute Regal draws where he stalls the entire match. I ended up as shocked as the live crowd. I had never heard of Finlay but I sure as hell knew who he was after the match. Brutal in an awesome way. These two needed another 20 minute ppv match. Since this match was cut short, I wonder what match got extended time because ddp/beefcake,street fight,cage were all too long and awful.

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  • 3 months later...

Dear God this was unbelievably brutal. A harrowing war. As nasty a worked bout as I can recall. Both men extensively attacked the face with vicious repeated shots. There was one where Finlay just punched Regal smack on the nose drawing blood. When they weren't exchanging stiff strikes they were grinding the other man down with holds. It certainly wasn't pretty, yet stylistically it was so different that I found it refreshing. Having to bring it to a conclusion before 30m was definitely a positive for match quality and their wellbeing. They'd already both be feeling it for a long time after this.

 

It didn't have crowd heat, didn't need it. It didn't have a finish, didn't need it. There were no winners in this fight. The whole time I was cringing. A gripping battle where I could hardly believe what I was witnessing.

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  • 1 month later...

Two things hurt this match : total lack of heat, because Finlay wasn't over and he hasn't been built as a babyface; it was very much your-turn/my-turn, and would have gone over big time in Japan with this kind of stiffness. So yeah, the brutality and ultra-crispness were great, but a great match it wasn't. Gotta love the announcers marking out. WCW was presenting so many fresh new styles at this point that the audience didn't always knew what to make of it. Perfect match for Korakuen Hall though.

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  • 11 months later...

It's not a great match, but it's really, really good and it sticks with you in a positive way. The crowd wasn't loud, but they did seem to be paying attention and did react when they wanted them to react. This would have been great in Korakuen, but maybe even better in a studio. Not only is the finish early but it doesn't even make sense, as Regal was in control when the Bluebloods ran in. Oh well. Still a match that put Finlay on the map.

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  • 1 month later...

I will be surprised if any match beats this in my ***3/4 ranking for the year. In fact this may be my highest ranked ***3/4 match in history. Some absolutely brutal stuff and shots and bending of limbs for nearly twenty minutes to a crowd that didn't know what to think. The Tupelo crowd responded by being quiet which was a detriment to the action. Kudos to the announce team really putting this over as they did a great job at building these guys up. ***3/4

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  • 2 months later...

Lord Steven Regal vs Fit Finlay - WCW Uncensored 1996

 

If you are real quiet and pay attention real close, you can actually hear Regal's nose explode at the end of the match. This was Ishikawa/Ikeda levels of brutality and uncomfortability. They were just beating the absolutely fucking shit out of each other. This would not look out of place at all on BattlArts card. This is why I loved WCW in 1996, it really felt like an all-star promotion with the best of every style on the card. Finlay set the tone early by whipping Regal with his jacket and just attacking him with vicious forearms, knees and headbutts. They were just fighting through each other's offense, which is one of my favorite style of matches. To me it is not my turn, your turn because you fucking earned your turn in this war. Whether it was stiff Finlay knee to the head to break out of an armbar or Regal nearly taking Finlay's head off with a dropkick. The only defense in this match was more offense and fight fire with fire. Unlike Ishikawa/Ikeda, they had a hard time keeping the heat up throughout the match and in the holds. They worked the palm strikes and knees in the holds well, but the holds in the match while gnarly did not have the drama of a BatBat match. I loved that the chairs were attached together preventing Finlay from using the chairs at Uncensored. I always mark out when someone suplexes someone from the ring to the floor, which seems so dangerous. Dusty is hilarious totally missing Brain's point that they wrestled each other thinking he was thinking England and Ireland were the same thing, "Ireland is five miles from London. I don't think so." Apparently, this match was supposed to go 30 minutes and I think thankfully it did not. It was running out of steam and this was the perfect ending for the match. One guy hits another guy so hard that his nose is shattered and he is just a bloody mess. It was really the only proper way to end such a nasty fight.

 

As much as I love sheer brutality, I do like a bit more of a strategy and/or narrative to my matches. It really is another form of a spotfest, but better than what is commonly thought of as a spotfest. Because they are fighting through each other's offense, it never feels like an exhibition. Because they are hitting each other so hard, it always feels like they are trying to win. It does not have the same pitfalls as a standard spotfest, but it does lack hook from a character/angle perspective to make it truly excellent. Still, I think this is an undervalued match. It is well-known, but the usual rating seems a bit low to me. It does not reach the greatness of some of the BatBat/FUTEN stuff I saw in the past year, this is not far off. ****1/4

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  • 1 year later...

Loss ranked this #490 on his countdown of the Top 500 matches of the 90's on PTBN.

 

placetobenation.com/countdown-top-500-matches-of-the-90s-500-451/

 

It's been awhile since I've seen this. I had the VHS at one point. As a teenager, I remember we never took Fit Finlay seriously. We just laughed at his bad hair, and didn't really pay attention to his matches. It's unfortunate. In 1996, someone should have told him to buzz that mullet. Obviously, now we all know that he was and is awesome. They work this so stiff. The crowd isn't really into them, but they do react to the stiff blows. Dusty cracked me up with the "Oh man! Did you see that kick to the belly welly!" ha. "Where is Ireland? Five miles from London?" I thought Regal had great facial expressions throughout the match, and those stiff forearms to the head of Finlay looked awesome towards the end. The busted nose of Regal is crazy and shows the brutality of the match. I agree with Chad that it's a really high ***3/4. Good match.

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  • 11 months later...

This match was a beauty. Man this ruled. I don't think the dead crowd hurt this one at all; I feel like there are two match types where a dead crowd really doesn't take away much of anything: very technical, mat-based matches and super stiff, snug fights like this; both styles are all about paying attention to the little things, each individual strike and how each hold is worked and struggled against. And every strike and hold in this match was awesome. Regal was the real star, with his fantastic palm strikes, great selling and how he worked to make every hold he grabbed as punishing as possible. Ending was very, very lame.

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  • GSR changed the title to [1996-03-24-WCW-Uncensored] Steven Regal vs Fit Finlay
  • 2 years later...

I found myself thinking this match would have gone over absolutely huge in Japan.  You put this on a NJPW undercard, throw in a few bombs at the end and these two guys become mainstays because they get the style.  As it is, it's just a rally, really good 20 minutes of ultra-snug violence for the sake of two guys who aren't supposed to like each other.  Works for me. :)

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  • 1 year later...

You know you're in for a good one when the match starts with Finlay hitting Regal in the face with his spiked jacket. Things get chippy from the outset, and they don't let up. There are so many awesome little details, like Regal and Finlay grinding their forearms across the bridge of the nose on pinfall attempts. Regal wrenches a headlock, really working the hold, and Finlay counters with a knee to the face and a thumb to the eye.

There's nothing pretty about this match. It's gritty, visceral, and violent. the nose. Each pin attempt feels purposeful, as Regal and Finlay look to make each other expend energy. It's clear from the opening moments to the end that they want to hurt one another. Both competitors take a spill to the outside, and Finlay pulls Regal shoulder-first into the post. Rather than allowing Regal a moment of respite, Finlay stomps the bad arm as Regal's entering the ring. Repeated knee lifts to the face are a brilliant way to counteract the arm work.

Regal stomps away at Finlay, catching him flush with dropkick when he gets a bit too fancy by going to the corner and jumping to the top rope. The momentum swings are swift but always feel earned. Finlay cuts Regal off with a well-placed uppercut and hones in on Steven's bad wheel. Regal counters with palm strikes to the nose, but Finlay explodes out of the corner with a gnarly lariat. The zenith of the match comes when Regal suplexes Finlay over the top rope to the floor, the earliest I can recall seeing that spot.

Regal punts Finlay down low and gets a stern warning from the referee. Regal continues to ground Finlay, placing his knee in the point of the neck and clubbering him in the face. Regal bounces Finlay off the apron and takes a moment to talk trash, at which point Finlay punches him in the nose. The sounds of the strikes in this match are real crunchy. The finish is, unfortunately, the only real downpoint. After the fight spills the outside once more, Regal sends Finlay into the cage on the set, and members of The Blue Bloods attack Finlay for the disqualification.

This was an intense, all-out war between two hard-nosed individuals. A great match that proves you can get so much out of doing very little. There's not a lot of flashing lights here, but what the match lacks in sizzle, it makes up for in stiff uppercuts and quality grappling.


***3/4

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