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[1991-08-03-TWA-Summer Spectacular] Cactus Jack vs Eddie Gilbert (2/3 falls)


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  • 3 months later...

For the first fall, falls count anywhere. As you'd expect, they brawl all over the place - when that was still novel - and it doesn't take too long for the blood to start flowing. Both guys take some huge bumps. Cactus uses a fan's umbrella as a weapon in a funny moment. While the stuff they're doing could be argued as too much, it's really compelling. When they make their way back to the ring, Gilbert's selling and the image of his faced covered in blood gives weight to everything that has happened. Cactus takes the first fall by pinning Gilbert on the floor after a lariat from the apron.

 

The second fall is a stretcher match. I get the logic in saving the cage for the end, but the idea of carting someone out in a stretcher, only for them to return and work a cage match, seems a little weird. I wonder if there is some other gimmick they could have done in this fall instead. All hope seems lost for Gilbert as he's taken a hell of a beating and seems to be barely maintaining consciousness. Cactus brings a large garbage can into this and does an elbow drop from the ring to the floor, but misses Gilbert and now Gilbert is back in control. He finds a bottle in the garbage can Cactus brought into the match and smacks it over his head in a great spot, which gets the crowd chanting for him. He ends up cutting his face up with shards of glass, which is crazy if that garbage can wasn't specifically gimmicked for this match (and probably crazy even if it was). Gilbert grabs the house mic and says he's going to kill Cactus and beats the hell out of him with a stool and probably some other plunder he finds around the ring as well. Cactus gets carted out and Gilbert wins the second fall. You all know how I feel about cutting promos during matches, but I liked it here for two reasons: one, because Cactus coming out right away to start the cage match would have been weird, so there needed to be some stalling, and two, because the crowd was starting to cheer Gilbert after his dominant showing in the second fall and he was able to turn them against him again.

 

The third fall is a cage match. The biggest weakness of this fall is that they don't stay in the cage. Brawling outside a cage really defeats the purpose of a cage match, and it wasn't necessary when so much of the match had already been all over the arena. That aside, the fall was still really well worked, and they did eventually get back into the cage for the last several minutes to give the people a decisive conclusion. Well, definitive is probably a better word than decisive, as Doug Gilbert climbs the cage after a ref bump and handcuffs Cactus to the ropes and the match gets thrown out without a real finish. To do all that work and then not pay it off with a finish seems self-defeating, even if the work before the finish was excellent.

 

Post-match, Bam Bam Bigelow makes the save and the Gilberts bail. This would be even more fondly remembered if it was pro shot. Matches like this are a little hurt by what followed them, but that shouldn't be too much of a factor here, as this was pretty trailblazing stuff. Gilbert's selling is what held the match together, and that important bit of detail is what was missing from some of the bigger brawls as the decade progressed. As it stands, it is very deserving of its reputation as one of the best matches of the year. Aside from the Mind Games match, this is quite possibly the best match Mick Foley ever had. Eddie Gilbert was a really great pro wrestler and pro wrestling mind, one who really mixed old and new school stuff in an effective way, one who was his own worst enemy in terms of finding work, and one who died long before his time.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's hard for me to call this one of the best matches of the year when there's so much we can't see because it's a handheld. But it holds up as a wild-yet-well-put-together match. Gilbert's selling and character work were excellent, with his promo serving as the perfect stitching between the stretcher and cage matches. The non-finish finish irritated me after all that.

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  • 2 weeks later...

There are a few things holding this back from being a MOTYC. The stretcher stip in the middle is a little wonky, though not a huge deal considering the time it takes to set up the cage and the tease that Cactus won't make it for the 3rd fall. The bigger issue is a falls-count-anywhere/stretcher/cage match that ends in a fucking double DQ. That's Capital Combat levels of shitty booking--no reason why Cactus couldn't have eaten a pinfall after being down 2-on-1 to the Gilberts. And what the fuck did Cactus do to get disqualified, anyway?

 

But, this is clearly a coming-out party for Mick. Now he's added a ton of effective offense to his arsenal to go with his crazy bumps, and combined with Gilbert's selling he's improved tenfold as a worker because of it. He's gained weight but keeps moving at full-speed for most of the match--no wasted motion on anybody's part here. I think this could have been better as a three-match progressive series rather than cramming all of these gimmicks into one bout, but once you take the booking out this is one terrific brawl.

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  • 3 weeks later...

A fan cam match that is clipped through out first fall. Can be hard to follow at times when they go in the crowd as you can’t see the action clearly. Wonder how long it took them to set up cage between falls. Eddie gets on the mic to waste a bit time but also run down Cactus and say he won’t be able to come out for third fall. With WWE, they at least could lower the cage already but together from ceiling. Was chuckling that in cage portion of the match they still were brawling in the crowd. It was almost pointless to have the cage with them going outside it and then Doug Gilbert getting inside later. The DQ finish was lame.

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  • 5 months later...

Feel close to Pete and Childs, probably not a MOTYC and I do still see some of the flaws like in the Brazos vs. Guerrero trios, but I would consider this a great match and more than that two great performances from the individuals involved. The first fall was my favorite with a wild out of control feel and tons of weapons used resulting in blood and pain. Stretcher matches usually result in seeing who can race down the aisle fastest but they kept up the pace here with good action and more big bumps including the glass spot Loss mentioned. The Cage portion was actually my least favorite and felt a little anticlimatic. The finish was well done for a non finish in this type of match. A tough match to watch at times since it is 40 minutes with no commentary and not pro shot, but really rewarding to see.

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  • 1 year later...

Since the disc treated this as three separate matches, and since there were other matches in between the falls, I'm going to do a separate review of each bout. I decided to watch the stretcher match first since it was the shortest.

 

I didn't like this much at all; as others have stated above, there was way too much going on that we couldn't see, plus it was really two separate bouts, with Foley dominating the first half and Eddie the second half. I would like to have seen more of a back-and-forth slugfest, even with both guys bleeding all over the place. Eddie's work on the mic after he wins saves the whole thing, as he taunts the crowd, trashes Mick, and even has a few words for the ring announcer, who looks a lot like Tod Gordon.

 

I know the guy shooting this wasn't a pro, but couldn't we at least have had a shot of Mick leaving on the stretcher, since that was the point of the match and all? This reminds me of some of the SMW handhelds, where someone shot falls count anywhere matches and never even tried to follow the action. Inevitably, the pin would be on the other side of the arena, and the only way the viewer would know the match was over was if they heard the bell ring. It puts a crimp in the viewing experience, to say the least.

 

Agreed about Mick being crazy for allowing Eddie to bust him open with that bottle, but would he really be Mick Foley if he didn't do something crazy in almost every bout?

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Now for the falls count anywhere match:

 

I wish I could say that I liked what I saw, but I can't, because I didn't see 75% of the bout. Yes, I know that falls count anywhere matches take place outside the ring for the most part by design, but so many moves disappeared into a wall of people that Mick and Eddie could have just punched or elbowed the air for what difference it made. In fact, it might have behooved them to do just that at times; who outside of the few people closest to them would have known if they actually hit each other or not? Even the flying clothesline that led to the pin wasn't actually seen landing. For all we know, Mick could have landed on his feet and stood there ten feet from a standing Eddie while the ring announcer shouted "One, two, three!" into the mic. It's not likely, mind you, but in matches like this, who can say for sure that it didn't happen?

 

As for the times we actually saw the wrestlers touch each other, I liked Eddie's suplexes on the floor, which would have been enough to beat most men, and Eddie also did the tray of drinks spot that has become so popular of late. My favorite sequence, however, was the wooden chair vs. metal chair standoff, which I'm sure has been done before in some form or fashion but made for a striking visual. We're just lucky that the cameraman was in position to film it. The ring announcer shouting the pinfall counts into the mic was a nice touch, since the ref probably couldn't have gotten down on the floor to count without getting himself trampled.

 

These two have had two matches so far, and we probably haven't seen a half of a match combined. Let's hope the cage match gives us a little more to sink our collective teeth into.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Now for the cage match.

 

This one completes the trifecta of disappointment. I wasn't a fan of Mick and Eddie leaving the cage just because, and the fact that for the third bout in a row we missed a part of the action because the crowd was so close was another downer. Worse, we get a finish I'll never understand in a thousand years. If you have to have a double DQ in a cage match, it probably shouldn't have been a cage match. Doug's run-in is the final straw, as he and Eddie give Mick a patented Memphis Endless Beatdown straight out of the Eric Embry playbook, with numerous babyfaces being easily dispatched to the point of boredom for all in attendance. Luckily, Bam Bam (whom I didn't recognize at all) makes the save.

 

With a double DQ and a run-in, this match had to be one of the most pointless ones booked in 1991. Why even put the cage up if you're going to book the match as if it wasn't there? Then again, none of these three matches are much in my book. Professional camera work probably would have helped a little, but these are just too reliant on brawling into the crowd for my taste.

 

Kudos to the inside ref for his spectacular bump off of Eddie's lariat. Eddie's shot directly to Mick's crotch while Mick was "tree-of-woed" by the top of the cage was similarly brutal.

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  • 1 year later...

#414

 

I liked what I could see of this, which wasn't much. It's a shame that there wasn't anyone filming this at ringside but I guess being three or four rows back made this an authentic handheld .I liked how the pink and red hues gave this a real red light feel. When I first got the internet, and file sharing meant downloading postage stamped files on a modem all night long, this match took on something of a legendary standing thanks to rspw award archives and the like. It's not a bad series of matches, but I'm not sure it deserves its legendary status anymore especially with the crap finish. Still, I finally got to see this and I guess that means I've knocked if off old-school modem list.

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  • 6 months later...

Finally got to check this one out today. It wasn't online when I went through the top 500. I'd put it in the good to really good category. There were some cool spots, but there were also times it was hard to hold my attention. I'm sure a lot of that played into the filming of it.

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  • 5 months later...

I liked what I could see and tell what was happening. Here's what bothers me about the idea of the falls count anywhere match. It was done with no intention of being taped. Explain why you would do that at a house show where half the people aren't even going to be able to see what is happening when they brawl through the crowd. It's stupid and should cost them paying fans in the future. Then they go and just leave the cage to do some more. That being said, this is way ahead of it's time and I wish more of the ECW arena brawls were this good.

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  • GSR changed the title to [1991-08-03-TWA-Summer Spectacular] Cactus Jack vs Eddie Gilbert (2/3 falls)

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