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Inspired by OJ's WCW thread. . .

 

Adrian Adonis & Dick Murdoch vs Sgt. Slaughter & Terry Daniels, MSG 7/23/84

 

I just clearly haven't seen enough of the formula based on John's comments of how weak this one was, because I thought the match was terrific fun. I never once got bored, except maybe in some of Daniels's million and one armbars. I can appreciate deficiencies of the heel-in-peril model and how it doesn't set them up as serious threats. But what I see here is two guys who don't take Daniels seriously early in the match, leading to his getting some dominance. I never really feel they're out of control when Slaughter's not in the the ring. Yes, they get arm-barred. A lot. Too much. And Daniels throws a pretty nice drop kick. But I always get the feeling that when they're ready, Adonis and Murdoch become dominant. Which is exactly what happens later in the match - they get tired of playing with this munchkin and start smacking him around. That's whan Slaughter has to come kick ass, which is a joy to see.

 

What blows my mind is just how mobile Adonis and Murdoch are through this match. They're flying and jumping and moving like guys half their size, and it's beautiful. What also amuses me is how the crowd decides to chant USA to insult the Texan Murdoch. Stupid Yankees.

 

I loved this match.

 

Terry Funk vs Pedro Morales, Boston Garden 1/11/86

 

On one of the LOW roundtables, Flair says that Scott Hall was lucky enough to be at Mania the day Shawn Michaels wrestled a ladder. That's not so far off in this match. I don't know what was up with Funk, but surely he's ribbing Morales (or maybe ribbing the crowd). It's like he's performing solo, and Pedro happens to be there. He does 95% of the work, bouncing about and comically overselling. In fact, the first half of the match feels almost like a squash. Even when Pedro makes his big comeback -- which the crowd enjoys -- it's still Terry throwing himself to the mat and through the ropes. He hides under the ring steps and gets into it with a fan who threw something at the ring. In the end, his trunks get pulled down, so we're treated to bare-Funk-ass as he makes the final pin.

 

Bizarre but enjoyable. (Unless you're Morales, trying to put on a match.) But I figure Terry knew that Pedro has the personality of a tree, and so he took it upon himself to liven things up. Or maybe he was drunk.

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Randy Savage vs. Tito Santana (No DQ), 5/4/86

 

What was up with the Macho Man and Toronto? In any of the good 1980s WWF feuds, there's likely to be one match where it all comes together, and for Tito and Savage this was that match. For long stretches it was as good as anything from the other territories in the 80s. I'm not sure if I liked it as much as Tito vs. Greg, which I think had better Tito performances, but this was extremely well worked for the sort of bout it was. Being a Savage bout, you can't shake the feeling that blocked it all beforehand, but if that allowed him to concentrate on the performance aspects of wrestling then I don't mind if it feels a little scripted. The finish is kind of hollow, but you have to expect that with a tour match and a stip like this.

 

The WWF didn't have a lot of great wrestling in the 80s, but there was definitely enough there to make a nice little collection. Far more than it was ever given credit for in the past.

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Tito Santana vs. Greg Valentine, 7/15/87

Tito Santana vs. Greg Valentine, 11/26/88

 

I became a big fan of the Tito Santana/Greg "the Hammer" Valentine feud during the Smarkschoice WWF poll, so I decided to check out some of their matches from a few years later.

 

The match from '87 isn't a particularly meaningful bout, but there's some of the hard hitting action that I remember from their feud for the Intercontinental championship. This was a few months after The Dream Team broke-up and they do that annoying shit where Brutus is on commentary pretending to be at ringside. Brutus was always incredibly shitty at promos (something I was aware of even when I was a kid) and his delivery on commentary isn't any better. Thankfully, it's a short match.

 

The '88 match is much longer and pretty good actually. It's slow and methodical -- it's a Greg Valentine match, after all -- but if you dig both these guys then you'll find something to like about this match. The only real downer is the typically 80s WWF restholds that they do every now and again, but inbetween that is the usual Tito and Greg brawling and many of the same spots from their IC feud. There's also some cool strength spots on the mat, good use of the shin guard angle Greg was doing at the time, and a nice "moon" spot when Greg shows his ass to Madison Square Garden. Not a classic or anything, but it satisfied the itch I had to watch more of their stuff.

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Sgt.Slaughter vs. Iron Sheik, Championship Wrestling 2/25/84

Sgt.Slaughter vs. Iron Sheik, MSG 4/23/84

Sgt.Slaughter vs. Iron Sheik, MSG 5/21/84

 

People talk about the Boot Camp match, but the rest of this feud is awesome in its own right. The 5/21 match in particular is an awesome spectacle w/ Slaughter doing a killer bladejob and the incredible bloodsoaked promo at the end where Slaughter gets the crowd to plead allegiance to the flag. The post-match brawl after the April match is sweet as well, especially when you have guys saying, "get your fucking ass out of here, Slaughter." Even their appearance on Regis was awesome.

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Randy Savage vs. Tito Santana (No DQ), 5/4/86

 

What was up with the Macho Man and Toronto? In any of the good 1980s WWF feuds, there's likely to be one match where it all comes together, and for Tito and Savage this was that match. For long stretches it was as good as anything from the other territories in the 80s. I'm not sure if I liked it as much as Tito vs. Greg, which I think had better Tito performances, but this was extremely well worked for the sort of bout it was. Being a Savage bout, you can't shake the feeling that blocked it all beforehand, but if that allowed him to concentrate on the performance aspects of wrestling then I don't mind if it feels a little scripted. The finish is kind of hollow, but you have to expect that with a tour match and a stip like this.

 

The WWF didn't have a lot of great wrestling in the 80s, but there was definitely enough there to make a nice little collection. Far more than it was ever given credit for in the past.

Is this the one that just surfaced somewhat recently? I remember trying to watch everything from this feud during the Smarkschoice poll, but this one I haven't seen. I recall someone talking about one of their matches (*think* it was one from Toronto) showing up online semi-recently and interested me quite a bit.

 

Still haven't watched it yet, though.

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Randy Savage vs. Tito Santana (No DQ), 5/4/86

Is this better or roughly the same as their 04/22/86 MSG version of the match?

 

Was updating my WWF 80s spreadsheet with Hogan and Savage matches off of Corey's sets, along with another closer run through Graham's site, and saw this listed. I've seen the 5/31/86 version of the No DQ match from Philly, which is fairly close to the MSG match, though not really better.

 

Their matches at the regularly taped arenas:

 

Boston

01/11/86 Tito Santana vs. Randy Savage

02/08/86 Tito Santana vs. Randy Savage (Title Change)

03/08/86 Randy Savage vs. Tito Santana

 

MSG

03/16/86 Randy Savage vs. Tito Santana

04/22/86 Randy Savage vs. Tito Santana - No DQ

05/19/86 Randy Savage vs Tito Santana - Bruno as Guest Ref

06/14/86 Randy Savage & Adrian Adonis vs Tito Santana & Bruno Sammartino

07/12/86 Randy Savage & Adrian Adonis vs Tito Santana & Bruno Sammartino (Cage)

 

Philly

12/07/85 Tito Santana & Tony Atlas vs Randy Savage & Jesse Ventura

03/07/85 Randy Savage vs. Tito Santana

05/10/85 Randy Savage vs. Tito Santana

05/31/85 Randy Savage vs. Tito Santana - No DQ

 

MLG

03/02/86 Tito Santana & Junkyard Dog vs Randy Savage & Jesse Ventura

04/19/86 Randy Savage vs. Tito Santana

05/04/86 Randy Savage vs. Tito Santana - No DQ

06/15/86 Randy Savage vs. Tito Santana

 

The MLG tag and the final singles match from MLG may not be out in circulation.

 

The MSG feud builds nicely from match to match. The No DQ is a high point, but it does have the resolution of Tito getting his "win" in the cage match while Randy finishes it with the belt. The other cities didn't have that transition into a tag and the cage match.

 

Fun stuff.

 

John

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John, I can't remember if I've seen the MSG match you're talking about, but the Toronto match OJ reviewed is a wild bloody brawl that goes all over ringside, onto the ramp, and behind the ramp. It first surfaced last year on Classics On Demand. Easily the best non-Slaughter WWF brawl of the '80s.

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Inspired by OJ's WCW thread. . .

 

Terry Funk vs Pedro Morales, Boston Garden 1/11/86

 

On one of the LOW roundtables, Flair says that Scott Hall was lucky enough to be at Mania the day Shawn Michaels wrestled a ladder. That's not so far off in this match. I don't know what was up with Funk, but surely he's ribbing Morales (or maybe ribbing the crowd). It's like he's performing solo, and Pedro happens to be there. He does 95% of the work, bouncing about and comically overselling. In fact, the first half of the match feels almost like a squash. Even when Pedro makes his big comeback -- which the crowd enjoys -- it's still Terry throwing himself to the mat and through the ropes. He hides under the ring steps and gets into it with a fan who threw something at the ring. In the end, his trunks get pulled down, so we're treated to bare-Funk-ass as he makes the final pin.

 

Bizarre but enjoyable. (Unless you're Morales, trying to put on a match.) But I figure Terry knew that Pedro has the personality of a tree, and so he took it upon himself to liven things up. Or maybe he was drunk.

I do not think this is a rib. And in the end not bizarre. It is pretty standard WWF 80s formula. A good chunk of 80s uppercard WWF stuff is indistinguishable matches where WWF formula heels fly around, get pantsed and stooge for WWF faces.

 

It is worth watching the Bruno Sammartino/Paul Orndorff v. Roddy Piper/Bob Orton match from the same Garden show.

It has a really similar heels in role of guy who stooge get pantsed and bump around for the faces. Bruno brought more to the table as face than Morales and it has chairs and stairs getting thrown around which gives it a more out of control feel. On the other hand, on some level the one man Funk show is the more fun stooging bumping heel show. And I just like Funk's singature goofball stoogeing bumps more than Orton or Piper's, but whatever. Still there is a sameness to the two matches because that was a WWF formula. Nothing bizzare or unusual about it.

 

I also think you might emjoy watching the Moondog Spot v Scott Mcghee opener from the same show (which is your formula undercard workrate match) to contrast with the formula main event style.

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Randy Savage vs. Tito Santana (No DQ), 5/4/86

Is this better or roughly the same as their 04/22/86 MSG version of the match?

It's essentially the same match, with the same beginning and end, but the Maple Leaf Gardens set-up means they can throw each over the barricade and use the ramp area to brawl, which makes the build to the bladejob a lot better than at Madison Square Garden. Savage's missed double axhandle happens later in the match and is arguably a bigger spot in Toronto. The first half of the match is probably better in New York, but the second half of Toronto fits the bill better and feels like more of a No DQ bout. There's also a difference in the way the matches are shot. The finishing stretch, for example, is shot from the front in New York and from the side in Toronto. When they use a front on shot in Toronto (and I'm assuming it's because of the ramp), it's from a far wider angle than in MSG, similar to the type of shot you see in handhelds. The upshot of all this is that the punch exchange, for example, is more interesting, if not better, in Toronto than it is in New York because of the different angle.

 

The crowd seemed hotter in Canada as well.

 

KB8, you can find it in the usual place.

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WWEClassics.com for February has the Sammartino/Hansen MSG cage match. Good match, somewhat formulaic but it works. Hansen bumps all over the place and shows his ass a little too often for comfort (thank god for pixilation). I liked Hansen's tendency to load his elbowpad for the lariat coming into play, and Sammartino destroying Hansen when he got ahold of that elbowpad. And the best part of WWE 1970s cage matches: decisive finishes. I know a lot of people hate the escape rule but when Bruno leaves his opponent in a bloody heap, its a great end to a feud.

 

The crowd as well was red hot from the start.

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I can safely say that the Toronto match is better than the one from Philly. The Philly match didn't strike me as anything special, really.

 

Ultimate Warrior vs. Rick Rude, 4/22/89

 

This a fun match. Rude hardly got a lick of offence in, but his bumping and selling were great. Unlike Rude vs. Warrior matches from other cities (and a lot of Rude matches in general, I should add), this was wrestled with the intensity befitting a return grudge match. No auto pilot in this one or slow motion offence, and Rude made Warrior's offence look great just like in the Summer Slam match.

 

Incidently, does anyone have a Rude/Roberts match they think is good? There's a ton of them out there, but bad Rude gets on my nerves. Any recommendations?

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Rick Rude vs. Rowdy Roddy Piper, Toronto 10/8/89

 

This was a fun match while Rude was bumping and selling and Piper was doing comedy spots, but as soon as Rude took over on offence it became completely uninteresting. Rude had this problem in WCW too. He'd suck the life out of a match with his control segments, usually involving some form of the abdominal stretch or a rear chinlock. Neither of these guys were great on offence, but this could've been so much better than it was if Piper had just done things like his punch combos and whipping Rude with his belt, and Rude had bumped and sold a lot.

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Inspired by OJ's WCW thread. . .

 

Terry Funk vs Pedro Morales, Boston Garden 1/11/86

 

On one of the LOW roundtables, Flair says that Scott Hall was lucky enough to be at Mania the day Shawn Michaels wrestled a ladder. That's not so far off in this match. I don't know what was up with Funk, but surely he's ribbing Morales (or maybe ribbing the crowd). It's like he's performing solo, and Pedro happens to be there. He does 95% of the work, bouncing about and comically overselling. In fact, the first half of the match feels almost like a squash. Even when Pedro makes his big comeback -- which the crowd enjoys -- it's still Terry throwing himself to the mat and through the ropes. He hides under the ring steps and gets into it with a fan who threw something at the ring. In the end, his trunks get pulled down, so we're treated to bare-Funk-ass as he makes the final pin.

 

Bizarre but enjoyable. (Unless you're Morales, trying to put on a match.) But I figure Terry knew that Pedro has the personality of a tree, and so he took it upon himself to liven things up. Or maybe he was drunk.

I do not think this is a rib. And in the end not bizarre. It is pretty standard WWF 80s formula. A good chunk of 80s uppercard WWF stuff is indistinguishable matches where WWF formula heels fly around, get pantsed and stooge for WWF faces.

 

It's also pretty typical of Funk in the WWF, and later in his career. He loved playing the clown.

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Bret Hart vs. Bob Backlund, MSG 6/12/93

 

This was pretty good. I'm very much a reformed Bret fan at this point, but it was more of a cross between a Bret match and a Backlund match than the usual Bret mode, which at least made it semi-interesting. It was pretty standard fare from a work perspective -- sit in a hold, stand-up and do something, get a pop, sit back down -- and neither guy being the one in "charge" hurts the match from time to time, but it's the kind of match you watch for the significance of the match-up, and in that sense it's more meaningful than the usual handheld.

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Ted Dibiase vs. Virgil, 9/10/91

Ted Dibiase vs. Virgil, 11/11/91

 

I love this feud. When I was a kid, we only got Superstars and pay-per-views on TV, which meant we could only really follow the storylines that carried through into the annual events. No matter how bad the matches were, there was always something satisfying about the pay-offs to even the stupidest of feuds. And if you ask me, the pay-off to Virgil/Dibiase was IMMENSE. Right up there with my favourite pieces of early 90s WWF booking.

 

These matches couldn't possibly live up to Piper spluttering all over the place (and making dodgy analogies to the slave trade), but they were a fun look at Ted's quest to win the title back. The second match was better than the first, which was somewhat ruined by having Randy Savage as the guest referee. Ted leads the way like he did in the SummerSlam match w/ great heel gusto, but I was impressed with Virgil's babyface timing and I kind of dig his streetwise boxing style, not that it ever really worked against anyone other than Dibiase.

 

Randy Savage vs. Jake Roberts, 2/17/87

 

This was a couple of months after their heel vs. heel match on SNME, and Jake was clearly the babyface this time round. The match veered on the simple side a bit too much and didn't have much action for a sub-10 minute match, but the crowd were into it. Probably the most interesting thing about it was that they gave Jake the clean win with the DDT.

 

123 Kid vs. Bob Backlund, Raw 11/14/94

 

This was a fun TV match. It was pretty much Waltman trying to avoid the crossface chickenwing as best he could and then a pull apart with Bret Hart where Backlund psyched Bret out by applying the hold and letting it go, but it was a really neat piece of TV. I really dig it when the WWF (of all companies) do wrestling hold angles.

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Ultimate Warrior vs. The Macho King Randy Savage, 1/21/91

 

I know that Warrior is the complete opposite of what a good worker is supposed to be and that it's Savage who is carrying him in this match, but after watching the most God foresaken Jake Roberts vs. Rick Rude match the other day I've reached the conclusion that I'd much rather watch an Ultimate Warrior match than a Rick Rude one. In fact, the way I feel about Rick Rude matches right now I figure his famous carry of Ultimate Warrior was as beneficial a match-up for Rude as it was for Warrior. This was a steel cage match Warrior and Savage had a couple of days after the "he said no" angle at Royal Rumble '91. I watched this and a title vs. title match they had from '89 and this was probably the better match. Like almost all WWF matches it had a mindnumblingly boring dip in the middle, but the beginning and end were good. I don't know why the WWF had such poor heat segments in their matches, but they did. The weird thing about this match is that after rejecting Sherri's blowjob at Royal Rumble '91, Warrior strips her to her underwear in this match. Not only that, but he stares at her skirt talking to it. I'm no lip reader, but he was questioning his destiny right there. There's a pull apart at the end with the Nasty Boys coming to Savage's aid, and Sherri returns in a new dress for a bit more male on female violence.

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Jake Roberts vs. Ricky Steamboat, MSG 5/19/86

Jake Roberts vs. Ricky Steamboat, Spectrum 5/31/86

 

I forgot that Steamboat's original WWF theme was Sirius. That's such a kick-ass theme for the intro to a grudge match. Steamboat looks AWESOME waiting for Roberts in MSG. These are essentially the same match with the same ref spots and the same finish. The Spectrum match is a bit longer for no other reason than it's slower than the MSG match, but the brawling looks a thousand times better than MSG because of the camera set-ups. One of the things I noticed when we did the WWF poll over at Smarkschoice was how shitty the MSG camera work was, but here it makes Steamboat look like a woman. Everybody knows that you have to shoot punches and most other contact in wrestling from an angle that hides the daylight, but it seems as though the MSG guys didn't know how to shoot wrestling. It's a shame really because MSG usually had better heat than Philly. Neither match is great, but fun in a continuation of the feud kind of way. They have a pull apart at the end where they keep doing Lou Thesz press takedowns and punching each other while midcard acts coming running out to separate them. That reminds me of how excited I used to be when people came running out to help. There was always that anticipation of "Who's it gonna be? Who's it gonna be?"

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  • 1 month later...

Royal Rumble 1994

 

I accidentally rented it from netflix, when I meant to get '93. A few comments:

 

1. Tatanka was really, really over -- both in his match against BamBam and in his rumble appearance. I haven't seen much of the guy, but I quite enjoy him. He's got a great look, good energy, and decent if unspectacular workrate.

 

2. The crowd could care less about Backlund, and Vince doesn't hype him at all on commentary.

 

3. The Bret/Owen feud is good stuff. There's a nice recap vid before their tag match with the Quebecers. And Owen's actions during the show really pop the crowd.

 

4. I like Shawn Michaels, but I am not blind to his faults. His whole "face in peril but overcoming the odds" in the rumble matches always makes me crazy.

 

5. Diesel is booked like a monster here in the rumble match - he kicks all kinds of ass. I am not sure how the crowd responds. They're kind of quiet. (also, Crush is boring)

 

6. The Rumble match itself - even with the "shock" ending - is one of the more boring ones.

 

7. I will never ever say Yokozuna has a limited moveset ever again. He is 1000x times more interesting than Mabel.

 

8. Steiners are pretty over. Or maybe the crowd just likes making the dog noises when Rick enters. [this all just reminded me how much I love 1999->Present insane roid-monster crazy talker Scott.]

 

That's enough for now. I confess to skipping the Taker/Yoko casket match because I am kind of Taker'd out this week. And I skipped Razor/IRS because I don't really like either guy in the ring.

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6. The Rumble match itself - even with the "shock" ending - is one of the more boring ones.

Yep. Once the Diesel stuff is done, nothing happens until the end. The only cool thing was the little interaction Michaels and Jannetty had, which was neat since really Jannetty was nothing more than an afterthough JTTS at this point. I hate the overscripted version of the post 99 Rumbles, but this one takes the cake for being a huge nothing match. But hey, you got the debut of Kwang and Thurman Sparky Plugg. Ah, the 90's...

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I hate the overscripted version of the post 99 Rumbles, but this one takes the cake for being a huge nothing match. But hey, you got the debut of Kwang and Thurman Sparky Plugg. Ah, the 90's...

Seriously. They just wander around, looking confused half the time.

 

Kwang was the guy who entered #2 with Scotty? Lord in heaven, was he ever a lame Kabuki/Muta wannabe. (ironic, since Kabuki himself was in the fucking rumble)

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