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[1994-04-01-SMW-Bluegrass Brawl] Chris Candido vs Tracy Smothers (Ladder)

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Smothers and Candido have had good matches up until this point, but this was on a completely different level. It honestly blew away Shawn/Razor at Wrestlemania. I know taking on a point of view like that makes some people hostile because they assume that it's being said just to come across as cool or contrarian, but nothing could be further from the truth. I think if you watch the matches side-by-side, it's a fairly non-controversial point of view.

 

Shawn/Razor deserves credit. It introduced the concept on a major show and they had a great match that was highly influential for years, both in the WWF and on the independent scene. They deserve credit for what they accomplished and I don't want to take away from that.

 

But this is better.

 

The ladder isn't used as much as it is at Wrestlemania, but the use of the ladder in general is probably smarter. I would also say the quality of the match leading up to use of the ladder is better than the WM X match. Really, some of the best highlights of the match have nothing to do with the ladder. Candido's pescado to the floor and top rope Frankensteiner are both beautiful spots. He tries it a second time, but Smothers holds on to the ropes and Candido takes what could have been a very scary bump head first onto the ladder.

 

I also really enjoyed the finish of this, because they kept the outcome in doubt until the very end. Give Mark Curtis credit, as the ladder broke, but he held it still so Smothers could climb to victory. Without him in there, I'm not sure what they would have done.

 

I think part of the difference is that kayfabe was stronger in SMW than in the WWF, so they didn't have to kill themselves quite as much with the ladder to get a reaction. They were still able to pull off some impressive spots, like Candido's missed splash from the top, but they spaced them out to make them more special.

 

One of the best matches of the year so far, and without a doubt the best SMW match I've ever seen.

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I did not think this blew away the Shawn-Razor match or that it was one of the best matches of the year. In fact, they seemed a little off at the beginning, with Smothers not quite connecting on his offense and Candido overbumping to compensate. It turned into a good match with an excellent performance from Candido. But even down the stretch, I thought their selling was spotty and that they went to the well a few times too often with the "miss move, hit ladder" formula. The ending, with the ladder breaking, was certainly dramatic. And I'm not saying this was any less than really good. I just don't love it as much as people with whom I normally agree.

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Great effort here but I still believe Michaels/Razor from WrestleMania is ranked higher. I think Candido/Smothers do a better job when it comes wrestling without the ladder. I felt the ladder was used a lot more in the WrestleMania match once it was introduced.

 

This match they use the ladder here and there and go back to wrestling. The climbing is also kept to a minimum which I appreciate cause these guys climb too slow. Curtis uses a five count on Candido when he tries to choke Smothers with the ladder. Not sure what that was about. Candido takes some pretty good bumps here.

 

When the both finally climb the ladder you can't help but thinking it's not going to hold as it seems to bending. Finally it breaks which is a cool spot. Glad they were able to recover and still finish the match. How awkward would it have been if Candido was suppose to win and Curtis had to hold the ladder up for him to climb.

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I don't think I like this match as much as other people but I still find it to be a great match and slightly better than Shawn-Razor. One thing that I do believe it smokes Shawn-Razor in is the wrestling before and around the usage of the ladder. The brawling in the corner was fun and I enjoyed the bumps to the floor as well. Candido was really excellent in this taking dangerous head bumps onto the ladder and missing the big splash off the ladder. The finish to this is tremendous and actually raises even more suspense to the ending. This is a great, great match and after thinking about it following my review maybe I do like it as much as others.

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I was the highest on Shawn/Razor of all the comments so I did think this was an inferior match. I also think this is my least favorite Smothers performance so far as he was more loose and sloppy here. Candido bumped magnificently and the slugfest at the end was great with the ladder breaking adding drama. I wish Smothers would have done something to Candido before he just climbed again. Very good match despite the problems I had with it.

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I'd have to rewatch it back to back with Razor vs Shawn, but it's at least just as great. The wrestling here is better than at the MX match, which was more gimmicky (although not nearly as much as the awful 00's ladder matches will), and although it was a bit shakier at times, I'm guessing it was although way less rehashed. I love Candido's overbumping, I'm a complete mark for it. It's as great as Terry Funk's. They do less with the ladder, but some of what they do look really brutal. The missed huricanrana from the top by Candido looks really dangerous. Tracey is awesome here, the best I've seen him. MOTYC, obviously.

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I'm sort of with Childs on part of this--they did whiff on a few moves to a noticeable degree and the stretch was very my-turn-your-turn: guy counters move, guy attempts move, guy misses, opponent takes over, repeat. But it's still by far the best SMW match ever and is very close in quality to WMX. I still think WMX is better, because of what Childs pointed out and because I think Loss is selling the pre-ladder action there short. Not a slight on this match at all--it's comparable in quality but not in what they do, because it's worked very differently. Whatever your opinion is on which match is superior, there's no question that neither Shawn nor Razor would have ever come up with a false finish like, "Let's have Razor climb the ladder and almost get to the top, but Shawn grabs a Confederate flag from a fan and low-blows him with it." That was a fucking spectacular idea. Lots of other very inventive shit with the ladder and a few non-ladder wrinkles like Smothers doing the Misawa "fake dive through the ropes" spot. I complained about the counter-move-miss sequences, but the spot where Candido had the ladder on as a necklace and Smothers ran the end of the ladder into the ringpost was sick-looking, and the follow-up where Candido basically blocks Smothers' elbow by accident with the ladder was better. Then the ending was a holy shit moment, whether it was intentional or not. I love the past-meets-the-future vibe of this, with pure-bred, recognizably southern wrasslin' worked in a whole new way that will be the wave of wrestling in the late '90s. One of the top 3 U.S. matches of '94 so far.

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At least, unlike the TV match, the $2,500 is hung sufficiently high enough that they need a ladder to collect it! The ladder is bought into the ring early but isn’t used, as the two of them try to wear the other down before they attempt to climb it. Nice continuation from their Sunday Bloody Sunday match with Candido ducking out the way of a slingshot dropkick, only for Tracey to hit him with a baseball slide dropkick instead. A great pescado from Candido and with Smothers on the apron, he suplexes Candido from inside the ring on to the arena floor. Tracey starts to climb the ladder, but Candido with an electric chair. He starts to use the ladder as a weapon, hitting Smothers with it, throwing it on him, before driving it into his throat. It’s Candido’s turn to climb the ladder, but Tracey comes off the top with a double ax handle and Chris topples off it and over the top rope to the floor. Smothers blocks a Candido suplex attempt and suplexes him on the ladder, but then misses a splash attempt as Candido moves out the way and he lands flush on the ladder. Top rope frankensteiner by Candido, but when he tries it a second time Tracey blocks it and he crashes to the canvas and onto the ladder. Candido misses a splash from the second highest rung and Smothers drops the ladder on his and he gets his neck stuck between the rungs. Smothers with a Stinger splash, but Candido pulls the ladder in front of him and Tracey hits that. The two of them climb the ladder and trade punches at the top before the ladder gives way for real and Candido takes a very nasty looking bump. Tracey puts the ladder back up, Mark Curtis holds it steady and he climbs and retrieves the $2,500 cheque.

 

Excellent match, so much so that I watched it back to back (something which I almost never do) and have watched it a third time since. The two of them put so much effort into this and worked so hard and played off previous matches between the two of them. The finish was a holy shit moment, and my gut is that it wasn’t planned and was an accident. I liked that the climbing was kept to a minimum and they weren’t reliant on using the ladder as a weapon, and the match was more about only climbing it when they thought their opponent was out of it and worn down enough. Candido looked exceptional here and took some crazy bumps (both planned and not!) and this could very well be a career high point for him (I enjoyed his TV match with Bobby Blaze, but this was on another level altogether).

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#397

 

I've read a lot about Tracy Smothers over the years but haven't seen a lot of him. I've enjoyed the stuff that's made Loss' list so far. The brawling here is pretty good and the ladder spots are suitability restrained. There's the old trope of them struggling to climb the ladder and taking baby steps, and the cheque is way too low for men that big to not just reach up and pull it down, but that's ladder matches for you. I didn't like Candido overselling the bump he took on the missed dive. Thought it would have been better, and more dramatic, if he'd sold it like the wipeout that it was. The ladder did its part selling, though. Nice job selling that limb work during the finish, buddy.

 

I'm surprised this got some traction for US MOTY. Seemed to be missing that extra gear. Perhaps it helps to have watched the lead up.

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This started off fast, and I was really into it. Then, Smothers got sloppy for a bit. But, it picked back up once the ladder was introduced. Some of the ladder shots looked pretty weak. I don't think they need to beat the crap out of each other to have a good match, but if you're going to use something like a ladder, or a chair, it needs to look convincing. But hey, as soon as I was thinking that, Smothers hit Candido with a nasty looking suplex on onto the ladder. Ouch, the missed frankensteiner bit looked painful too. I didn't particularly care for the head caught in the ladder spot by Candido, but loved the recovery of pulling the ladder in front of himself as Smothers went for the splash. The ladder breaking really adds to the drama of the finish. This doesn't compare to Razor/HBK to me, but it was still really good. It had its hits and misses. ***1/2.

 

#397 - placetobenation.com/countdown-top-500-matches-of-the-90s-400-351/

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