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Tito Santana Appreciation Thread

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The Luger match is on youtube and it's a fun. Luger sells and stooges great for Tito and fits into the formula perfectly, cheating to overcome Tito's superior wrestling and speed only for Tito to get back control until he finally takes over, at which point tito has some fun hope spots that get cut off. Nasty looking finish with the forearm too. Well worth watching. I love how there's a Tito vs Flair match, a Tito vs Windham match, and a Tito vs Luger match (and Tito vs Arn and Tully of course). The best of the bunch is the Windham one though.

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I have been watching quite a bit of Tito lately and he really excels in blood feud environments and tends to get lazy in just "random" matches. He is at his best when he is striking and having heated confrontations, which makes me believe Tito and WWF just really were not that great of a fit. I think post-Strike Force this is really apparent as Vince has really moved away from the Tito/Valentine & Tito /Savage feuds that made Tito so great. Tito did not have a bevy of crowd-popping spots or that effusive charisma to really get over in the late 80s WWF. From a quality standpoint, he would have kicked some serious ass as a babyface in JCP/WCW, but I am sure McMahon compensated him handsomely.

 

Tito Santana vs Ted DiBiase - 11/88 PTW Cow Palace

 

Even though this match is not apart of a program (DiBiase was being programmed with Hercules and Tito was in a holding pattern until Martel came back), both wrestlers treat it like they are feuding. Santana is pissed over some cheapshots from the Million Dollar Man when he does not break cleanly. Tito is fired up and those strikes on the outside looks great. He brings DiBiase in the hard way and really wrenches on some side headlocks. I did not expect such a good Tito showing. DiBiase is really hamming it up and bumping excellent for Tito. We come back from commerical with DiBiase having hit a side suplex out of the side headlock and both men on the mat. DiBiase dumps him to the outside. I have remarked on this before, but WWF did not take advantage of the outside enough. Tonight, I watched Valentine and DiBiase successfully hit moves from the second rope, will wonders ever cease? DiBiase misses a Tenryu Elbow. VAMOS TITO!!! Tito unloads on DiBiase. He signals for the Flying Burrito, but Virgil trips him up. DiBiase slugs him and Virgil lays in the weakest slaps ever. The Mighty Hercules runs into make the save and swing his chain around. DiBiase goes from being programmed with Savage to being programmed with Hercules take about falling off a cliff.

 

Tito was being the fire and passion. DiBiase was bumping and stooging for Tito like a million bucks. The heat segment was effective and kept moving. I felt Tito went into oversell mode a little too early and there could have been more sense of a struggle. It was a pretty good TV match and a good showcase for both men. I wished it developed into something more of a feud than just a one-off match.

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Tito Santana vs Rick Rude 10/88 PTW Ft. Wayne, IN

 

I have not watched much pre-1989 Rick Rude. He look awfully lanky here. Weird. He is wicked lean and there is zero percent body fat on him, but he does not look like he has really grown into his frame. Though he looks like a 40 year old in the face, but that mustache always made him look older than he was. According to wikipedia, he was 30 at this point. His face looks really pale; I cant tell if he is sick or he just didnt tan that part of his body. Rick Rude does his usual pre-match spiel and there are bunch of crowd shots of young Indiana women taking pictures of him, which I find amusing. Lord Alfred compensating for Tito mentions that he is also very good looking and hell even Mooney has women chasing him. Mooney actually does a good job turning it against himself stating was a 60 year old geezer who wanted to jump his bones.

 

Anyways, the match is nothing much and definitely the least of Tito's work in 1988. Rude does some stalling in the beginning realizing that Tito was getting the best of him he challenges him to a test of strength. Rude gets the better of this bringing Tito to his knees and then gyrating in his face. O that is just cold and makes me laugh. Tito mounts his comeback sending Rude to the outside where he stomps on both of their hands. Tito grabbed a side headlock while we go to commercial break. Rude has Tito in a reverse chinlock when we get back and has some time to do his hip swivel for the entertainment of all these "Indiana Idiots". Rude applies a bearhug and then a reverse chinlock again. Rude wrestles way bigger than he is. He wrestles like he is Nikolai Volkoff even though he is the size of a Hennig or Flair. Rude is better at the stooging and bumping than Volkoff, but he sure does like 300+ lb offense. Tito hits the electric chair drop out of the reverse chinlock and Rude sells it more like a ballshot, which amuses me. They trade splashing each other's knees. Tito has the worst strike exchange so far mostly because Rude is not every good at that part of the game. Well at this point, Rude is just generally sucky at offense. Cross body block gets two for Santana, Rude tries an atomic drop, but Tito blocks it and almost gets the figure 4 before the bell sound signaling a draw. I did not realize how many draws there were back then. They ought to bring back the time limit draw.

 

In post-match shenanigans, Bobby brings out one of Indiana's finest. Look at dat hair, hot damn. She is an eager beaver to take the Rude Awakening, but first she has to say she is not a harlot like Jake The Snake's old lady. After that, Rude and her dance to his music, but Tito the Cock Block comes in and dropkicks Rude. Then he plants a wicked liplock that drops this young lass to the mat. He climaxes with the world's worst hip swivel. How fucking hard is that to do? Arriba! There was more workrate in the post-match than in the actual match. As for the actual match, I would take a pass as it is late 1980s WWF wrestling at its worst. The post-match is pretty fun for what it is worth.

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So I have a question for everyone that has watched more Tito than me. I want to assert based off what I have watched that he has two modes: pissed off babyface and boring. I think he really has no idea how to work a great match without acting like he needs beat his opponents ass like something was stolen from him. It is a bit weird when he does this and has no feud like with Perfect or DiBiase. I enjoy it helluva lot, don't get me wrong, but it comes across as a bit strange at times. Like the announcers are taken aback that docile Tito has erupted with fiery rage. Especially in the Perfect match where he posts Perfect leg for no particularly good reason. Yes, Perfect is a prick in the storylines, I get that, but what makes Tito a babyface should be a little more restraint until he is slighted. Other babyfaces have more range and can tell different stories based on the heat level without always coming off as pissed off babyfaces. That being said when he wants to wrestle "scientific" he is pretty fuckin' boring see the Don Muraco match (maybe the worst match ever featuring two decent wrestlers) and that Rick Rude match.

 

So am I wrong? Does Tito have different gears besides painfully dull and I am gonna whoop your candy-ass? I would love to see that so please point me in that direction.

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Your first mistake is in assuming that Don Muraco is a decent wrestler. I have yet to see a good Muraco singles match and he may end up absent on the new WWF redo set. As for the Rude match, who knows?

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So am I wrong? Does Tito have different gears besides painfully dull and I am gonna whoop your candy-ass? I would love to see that so please point me in that direction.

The answer is no... Not only "no," but he didn't play the pissed off baby face as often as he should have. It was something Monsoon used to always go on about, which I suppose can be interpreted as a dig. If Tito had got angry more he'd probably have double the amount of good matches that he had. He's not really a matches guy, he's a feud guy. Some great feuds which produced good matches, but you can't just stick on a Tito match and expect it to be good.

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Your first mistake is in assuming that Don Muraco is a decent wrestler. I have yet to see a good Muraco singles match and he may end up absent on the new WWF redo set. As for the Rude match, who knows?

Some people seem to like the matches with Steamboat, but I haven't seen them in a while. Are they just all Steamboat? Not that that would be surprising.

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Your first mistake is in assuming that Don Muraco is a decent wrestler. I have yet to see a good Muraco singles match and he may end up absent on the new WWF redo set. As for the Rude match, who knows?

Some people seem to like the matches with Steamboat, but I haven't seen them in a while. Are they just all Steamboat? Not that that would be surprising.

 

 

Their are some good ones , but for a good share of the matches Don was happy to sit in an armbar, or a headlock. Then their are the judo jacket matches where the guys sell being whipped by the gi as if they are getting hit by a leather strap.

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Pre-89 Rude pretty much blows from everything I've seen. Cue: Sorrow with comment on how his team with Manny is GOAT. But still, I don't think I've seen a good Rude singles match in that time. I'd go as far as to say he sucks in WWF 87-8.

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Your first mistake is in assuming that Don Muraco is a decent wrestler. I have yet to see a good Muraco singles match and he may end up absent on the new WWF redo set. As for the Rude match, who knows?

Some people seem to like the matches with Steamboat, but I haven't seen them in a while. Are they just all Steamboat? Not that that would be surprising.

 

I hated those matches. Worst Steamboat feud ever.

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DiBiase goes from being programmed with Savage to being programmed with Hercules take about falling off a cliff.

In fairness, I do think he needed a little feud to rebuild him after losing out to Savage so many times in the summer. The problem is that Ted is left with nothing to do for most of 1989. It's why he really really should have gone over in the Royal Rumble where he bought the 30 slot as it would have kept him strong.

 

I think they do a good job of building him back up in late 89 and 90 with the Jake and Dusty feuds, but late 88 to early 89 is basically a "lost year" in terms of his push, the Rumble win would have made a difference.

 

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I like your analysis of Tito working every match as if he was in a feud. Never thought about that, but it's true.

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Your first mistake is in assuming that Don Muraco is a decent wrestler. I have yet to see a good Muraco singles match and he may end up absent on the new WWF redo set. As for the Rude match, who knows?

Some people seem to like the matches with Steamboat, but I haven't seen them in a while. Are they just all Steamboat? Not that that would be surprising.

Shoe and I agree on a lot of 80's WWF, but we disagree on the Steamer-Muraco feud. Don showed up for flashes here and there in the feud, but they never were really enough to have even a single good match. He spent too much time being a lazy bastard in them.

 

Don-Tito was horrid as well, and it's on Don. You could tell because the instant they put Tito with someone good (Valentine) or someone willing to work (Orndorff), Tito started having watchable-to-good-to-very-good matches.

 

As far as Don in good matches, I like four of his matches with Backlund. I only wrote up one of the Muarco-Snuka's, and thought it was perfectly okay in whole (including the so-bad-they're-great interviews with Kal), though their chinlock stuff wasn't. There were two more Muraco-Snuka matches that got praise way back at the time, at least one of which a group of us watch years back and thought was pretty good for a feud match. Other than that... yeah... there's a lot of bad Don matches specifically because Don was bad in them. He might be #1 on the list of "Most Talented Bad Workers" because there really wasn't anything that Don couldn't do: he could bump, stooge, sell, get heat, had a good offense, could work holds both on top and the bottom, and could work good runs to the finish... off of them when he Felt Like It. Which for the most part wasn't the case. So most every Don match you'll see some stuff that is good, and a flash of someone who should be great. Then he'd lay around. :)

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Tito Santana vs "The Widowmaker" Barry Windham - Primetime Wrestling 10/89

 

This felt like a 80s WWF version of a mid-00s WWE match as they were just throwing out offense against each other in order to make themselves look good. It is a bit above that because Windham sells and bumps well for Tito early on and Tito does settle into a heat segment. The first portion is a bit too spotty as they are really not letting their spots breathe. I don't mind it being nip and tuck per se, but there was less of a sense of struggle and more just using parity to display both wrestler's moves. Barry would at times let Tito stuff take effect, but he would go for the shinbreaker so quickly or an eye-rake. They were just packing way too much in there. On the flip side, Tito was not letting him build momentum, but as the babyface he should be coming. Tito does have a great punch. Windham needed to pick something to cut him off that was the jawbreaker into the ab stretch. Barry's heat segment was pretty tedious and instead of a constant build in heat it lets off a lot of heat. He takes the Flair throw off the top rope, but it is just a hope spot as he is able to hotshot Tito and grab a powerslam. Barry taunts and showboats more than I remember, just a WWF thing I suppose? Tito punches the left leg to cut off Windham and applies the figure-4 and the heat to the match is restored instantaneously. Barry gets a rope break and goes back to underhanded tactics like the eye-rake and fish hook. He can not sustain as Tito blocks Barry's suplex attempt and hits one of his own. They collide heads, I have no idea why, but it was a "cool" 80s spot. Tito whips Barry over the top turnbuckles and slams him into the post. He delivers the Flying Burrito, but the bells rings signaling a draw. Tito has wicked tunnel vision and is still putting the boots to Barry and another FLying Burrito sends him packing.

 

They definitely packed way too much in this match and still managed to have a dead segment in terms of Barry's heat. Windham was strange in the WWF ring, he felt like he needed to show boat more and play a character I guess. Tito was the most exciting part of the match, but still there was no real story. They were both just tossing moves and spots like candy to show off. It is worth to see the one notable match of Windham's 89 run, but nothing that gets above decent.

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Your first mistake is in assuming that Don Muraco is a decent wrestler. I have yet to see a good Muraco singles match and he may end up absent on the new WWF redo set. As for the Rude match, who knows?

The Backlund matches.

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Watching a bunch of the Tito-Valentine matches recently, and I love how Tito mounts a guy and throws punches. If it was a movie, Tito looks like the guy who'd come up for air and realize he'd killed a guy. Just fantastic fire and energy.

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