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Rick Martel & Fabulous Rougeaus w/Jimmy Hart & Slick vs Tito Santana & Rockers - Summerslam 89

 

It is Quebec's All-Star has been assembled to crush Tito Santana and his allies, The Rockers. If you add Dino Bravo, you would have a pretty badass Survivor Series Team. Also, they should have stuck Martel with Hart. He had all the other Quebecois at this point and he has the bitchin as all hell Quebec jacket. The story is cntered Ricky and Tito after the fallout from Wrestlemania V. From my understanding, they were running an angle around the horn where Martel would attack Tito from behind during his entrance. The referee would rule that the bout would have to take place later. Then Martel would usually win a short match (under minutes) by some sort of nefarious tactic. I was pretty disappointed to discover this because I was excited for a bevy of 10+ minute Tito vs Martel matches. At Summerslam '89, STRIKE FORCE EXPLODES~!

 

The babyfaces start off hot with some double teaming. The Rockers slingshot Tito who does a cross body on Raymond and Martel. The Meadowlands is rocking for this match. The first bit of Martel we see if him high stepping while punching Marty. The announcers inform me he does a cartwheel, but the camera work is a bit shoddy. Gone are all the cool spots, in their place is a cocky heel with a great right. Tito gets the tag and Martel fucking dives out of the ring to tag Raymond. Tito gets distracted by Jacques allowing for Raymond to hit a high knee from behind.This is one of better Tito face in perils I have seen as everyone worked really well here. Ricky Martel helps do a double hotshot onto Tito and now he comes in. Tony is indignant about the abject cowardice of Martel while Jesse defends him. This is actually some pretty good stuff between the two. Tony blows every WWF announcer out of the water at this point as he sound genuinely excited about the product and makes you believe in all of Tito's hope spots. Jacques lets out a big "Woo-hoo" after a sweet dropkick. When Tito starts to mount a comeback on Martel, Jacques runs over and pulls his hair so that Martel can reestablish his advantage. "SUNSET FLIP!" by Tito and the crowd loves Tito. Raymond applies a Boston Crab and Jacques with a big knee drop on Tito as the crowd gasps, but it only gets two. . The crowd chants for Tito during the abdominal stretch. Desperation cross body by Tito for 2 on Jacques. Jacques accidentally hits a high-knee on Raymond while Tito got out of the way. Shawn is in and cleans house on all three men. Katie bar the door because a pier-six brawl has erupted. TITO BLASTS MARTEL WITH A FLYING BURRITO!!! In the confusion, Martel clobbers Marty on a rollup-attempt to win the match.

 

It is clear that Vince had big plans for Martel as he is letting him pick up wins in the Tito feud albeit protecting Tito with the surrounding angle and Martel picked up the win here. This is a really fun popcorn match where the Nordiques play excellent dastardly heels who use every trick in the book to keep Tito down. Martel is reveling in besting his former partner Tito. However, one of these nefarious tricks backfires on the Nordiques allowing for the Rockers to come to aid of their friend. Tito getting to hit Martel with his finish was supposed to be the feel-good climax, but future booking plans necessitated that Martel be kept strong while Tito was beginning his descent down the card. Martel is a fun heel with all his antics, but do miss his big spots. This is one helluva performance from Tito and the Rougeaus really hit their stride in 1989 after some awful years. It is too bad tag wrestling was pretty much dead in the water in a scant few months. This is a fun match that people should check out if they never had.

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It's really interesting to me how Portland tried to get Martel over as lead babyface in early 80. Instant series of matches with Race for the big belt. Trading the Portland belt almost immediately with Buddy over a week. But they also did little things like making an announcement that kids would get in free to the next show because he went to Don Owen and insisted or having a match where the Sheepherders are afraid of Martel but not of Piper.

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Portland, Lucha, Memphis and Joshi are the last of the frontiers and I will probably tackle them in that order. However, I do want to keep further investigating things I am familiar with to really scour that first. Sort of a reinforce your strengths, before tackling the weaknesses mentality. I will say Portland sounds really fucking good.

 

On a recent WTBBP podcast, they conjectured that Martel's work dropped off in similar fashion to Hennig's in WWF. From what I have seen that has not been in the case. The Islanders/Strike Force feud was really incredible. The matches against the Hart Foundation were the best matches of the Hart Foundation of the heel run. Admittedly, the Demolition stuff was underwhelming. Martel was just as fired up as always with greats hands and knew how to build sympathy for himself. They really put over his Boston Crab when submissions were not exactly high priority in the WWF. Unfortunately, a lot of his 89-91 work is not up on online. He seems to have been injured in Summer of 1990, which actually cancelled an announced Tito Santana match for Summerslam, which I am sure who have been their classic blowoff. He also seemed to be forced to take off the entirety of 1991 seemingly due to steroid issues. Martel was actually one of the hottest heels in terms of booking and protection up until that point. I don't see how you could have fit him in any title picture unless it was a feud with Hogan in late '91 or taking Piper's place at Wrestlemania VIII, but going into Wrestlemania VII he was effectively the number 3 heel and if you look at Summerslam '91, they needed as many heels as they could get.

 

Unfortunately, the time he was wrestling, he was feuding with Brutus Beefcake, which from my viewing stand point you are effectively not wrestling at all. When I have some more time, I may cycle back and watch that, but not now. I don't think Martel took a big step down at all as a heel. Yes as a WWF heel, your moveset suddenly shrinks and you really love to choke, but Martel had two things going for him: that little dance was modified just a bit to be a huge heat magnet and he was super focused as a heel working on the back to set up the Boston Crab. I was surprised how every single heel Martel match I have watched features that as the main thread of his offense. I remember seeing the Martel/Hart match from 3/90 MSG and thinking it was incredibly boring, but I loved their Primetime match from 1989. The Santana SNME matches are not-so-hidden gems and his match with Marty is a pretty good mid-card match. I will post the match reviews later today.

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On a recent WTBBP podcast, they conjectured that Martel's work dropped off in similar fashion to Hennig's in WWF. From what I have seen that has not been in the case. The Islanders/Strike Force feud was really incredible. The matches against the Hart Foundation were the best matches of the Hart Foundation of the heel run. Admittedly, the Demolition stuff was underwhelming. Martel was just as fired up as always with greats hands and knew how to build sympathy for himself. They really put over his Boston Crab when submissions were not exactly high priority in the WWF. Unfortunately, a lot of his 89-91 work is not up on online. He seems to have been injured in Summer of 1990, which actually cancelled an announced Tito Santana match for Summerslam, which I am sure who have been their classic blowoff. He also seemed to be forced to take off the entirety of 1991 seemingly due to steroid issues. Martel was actually one of the hottest heels in terms of booking and protection up until that point. I don't see how you could have fit him in any title picture unless it was a feud with Hogan in late '91 or taking Piper's place at Wrestlemania VIII, but going into Wrestlemania VII he was effectively the number 3 heel and if you look at Summerslam '91, they needed as many heels as they could get.

Should have prefaced that I was referring to Martel's Arrogance gimmick matches. That may not be true to (have only watched the yearbook stuff which has been ok if unspectacular). I am a big fan of Strike Force and while I haven't seen the Islanders matches yet, I do really like the Hart Foundation tags a ton.

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Unfortunately, the time he was wrestling, he was feuding with Brutus Beefcake, which from my viewing stand point you are effectively not wrestling at all.

:lol:

 

Nice.

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Portland, Lucha, Memphis and Joshi are the last of the frontiers and I will probably tackle them in that order. However, I do want to keep further investigating things I am familiar with to really scour that first. Sort of a reinforce your strengths, before tackling the weaknesses mentality. I will say Portland sounds really fucking good.

 

On a recent WTBBP podcast, they conjectured that Martel's work dropped off in similar fashion to Hennig's in WWF. From what I have seen that has not been in the case. The Islanders/Strike Force feud was really incredible. The matches against the Hart Foundation were the best matches of the Hart Foundation of the heel run. Admittedly, the Demolition stuff was underwhelming. Martel was just as fired up as always with greats hands and knew how to build sympathy for himself. They really put over his Boston Crab when submissions were not exactly high priority in the WWF. Unfortunately, a lot of his 89-91 work is not up on online. He seems to have been injured in Summer of 1990, which actually cancelled an announced Tito Santana match for Summerslam, which I am sure who have been their classic blowoff. He also seemed to be forced to take off the entirety of 1991 seemingly due to steroid issues. Martel was actually one of the hottest heels in terms of booking and protection up until that point. I don't see how you could have fit him in any title picture unless it was a feud with Hogan in late '91 or taking Piper's place at Wrestlemania VIII, but going into Wrestlemania VII he was effectively the number 3 heel and if you look at Summerslam '91, they needed as many heels as they could get.

 

Unfortunately, the time he was wrestling, he was feuding with Brutus Beefcake, which from my viewing stand point you are effectively not wrestling at all. When I have some more time, I may cycle back and watch that, but not now. I don't think Martel took a big step down at all as a heel. Yes as a WWF heel, your moveset suddenly shrinks and you really love to choke, but Martel had two things going for him: that little dance was modified just a bit to be a huge heat magnet and he was super focused as a heel working on the back to set up the Boston Crab. I was surprised how every single heel Martel match I have watched features that as the main thread of his offense. I remember seeing the Martel/Hart match from 3/90 MSG and thinking it was incredibly boring, but I loved their Primetime match from 1989. The Santana SNME matches are not-so-hidden gems and his match with Marty is a pretty good mid-card match. I will post the match reviews later today.

 

 

His Strike Force stuff was really good. WE did say his Tito matches were good. Though to say his heel work was on par with his earlier babyface work is crazy. Yes he did have good matches. We used the Jake match as a really entertaining one, I also said I liked his matches with Martel. I even said it was tad unfair to compare the 2 because I thought Martel on the AWA set compared well to Steamboat, and Morton as a babyface worker. As in he was one of the best babyface workers of the 80's good.

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Also I don't think you'll find that Martel as a heel match carrying an opponent like baby face Martel does with Zuchov. The WWF Martel work you cite are all against good wrestlers. Though to be fair . Baby face Martel would never have been given the opportunity in the WWF like he got in the AWA because his mike skills were lacking.

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My bad, it sounds like I misconstrued some points. I do remember some talk about you guys giving some love to the Tito matches. I am pissed now that I found there was a Summerslam 1990 match scheduled between the two and Martel was injured or something. Though pisses me off more that he spends late 89 and early '90 paired with fuckin Beefcake. Also, I didn't mention this, but Martel actually had a series of matches with Ronnie Garvin and I know at least one made tape, but it is not online. I would love to see that match even though I think it is sub-10 minutes. Martel with Slick is so much better than Martel on his own. Martel getting funky with Slick before his matches just made it.

 

Martel's babyface work in the AWA was way better, I think my more central point and I think we agree is that the decline was not as steep as with Hennig (which may have been more injury related?). Now, if I actually watch the Beefcake then maybe we can find out if he could still carry a shitty worker.

 

Soup, brutha, watch the Islanders matches, brutha, but do so in order. Start with the Islanders heel turn on the Can-Am on Superstars. Islanders "run" Zenk out of the promotion. Then there is back-to-back MSGs with Martel against Tama (incredibly good) and Haku, before Tito gets involved and then they have two kickass tag team matches back-to-back on MSG. It is an amazing between three amazing workers and a pretty good Haku (fuckin' Haku is the low-man in WWF tag that it is a pretty good foursome).

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The big difference between Hennig and Martel in terms of their decline is that Hennig was a mid-card heel and he was positioned as a guy to fly and flop around for others. He ran with that, abandoned any and all offense and became a caricature of himself. In my view Martel was protected a ton by being in a tag team setting AND by being face.

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Dylan, I think we were trying to do a more apples to apples comparison with the Model vs Mr. Perfect. Perfect has the Hart matches and Santana matches. The Model has the Santana matches, but without seeing more I don't know if he has another series to sort of match Perfect two for two. The Model does seem to be the more consistent of the two in the ring, but both were breaking down quite in a bit due to steroid and health issues.

 

Wrestlemania III

 

Top Faces - Hogan, Piper, Steamboat, Jake The Snake, JYD

 

Top Heels - Andre, Savage, Adonis, Honky Tonk, Harley

 

Wrestlemania IV

 

Top Faces - Hogan, Savage, Jake The Snake, Warrior, Steamboat

 

Top Heels - Andre, DiBiase, Rude, Honky Tonk

 

Wrestlemania V

 

Top Faces - Hogan, Warrior, Jake The Snake, Beefcake,

 

Top Heels - Savage, Rude, Andre, DiBiase, Perfect

 

Wrestlemania VI

 

Top Faces - Hogan, Warrior, Jake The Snake, Piper, Beefcake/Bossman?

 

Top Heels - Rude, DiBiase, Earthquake, Perfect, Savage/Bad News/Martel?

 

Wrestlemania VII

 

Top Faces - Hogan, Warrior, Jake The Snake, Bossman

 

Top Heels - Slaughter, Savage, Martel, Perfect, DiBiase/Taker?

 

I don't want to get bogged down in the difference between a No. 3 heel and No. 4 heel, but I wanted to show was Steamboat's movement (top act to on the precipice of falling into the midcard mire) and where Martel could have fit in 1988 and going forward. Bear in mind, Martel took off the last half of 1988 after Demolition "injured" him so I don't know if that was a real injury or just vacation. In a perfect world, Martel would have taken Beefcake's spot, which I think we all agree could have led to great stuff with DiBiase and Perfect down the line. Now, would have politics let this happen, I am guessing not. There was no way you were going to leapfrog Hogan & Warrior and hell when you break it down like this, you cant really leapfrog Jake The Snake as he is really underappreciated as the top mid-card babyface act of the late Hogan era. Then on top of that Hogan loved using Beefcake to wrestle his winter feud (see DiBiase and Perfect) to establish Beefcake in single mid-card. I think Martel would have been stuck pretty low on the totem pole. Looking at Summerslam 1989, the Martel/Santana feels like the third biggest angle on their behind Hogan/Savage, Warrior/Rude, which have been why Martel going heel was the best long-term move for Martel. As he did wrestle Beefcake throughout late 89/90, which is actually a decent mid-card run, before slotting into a number 3 role with Jake The Snake and then steroids bust happened.

 

Stylistically, Rick Martel as a number 3 babyface in the vein of a more traditional babyface would have kicked ass, but I don't think he could have gotten ahead of Snake & Beefcake rendering to the point where he may have actually slipped into a jobber role. So they either could have pressed on with Strike Force, but booking gets in the way of this too as Demolition, Hart Foundation and the Rockers were babyfaces! Santana as a heel sounds awful. So it seems reasonable that Vince realizing Andre was declining and that the heel roster was in way more flux than the babyface roster that turning heel was the best use of Martel. Santana strikes me of a Steamboat. If Steamboat stayed, I could have seen him used in a tag team doing well and then getting shunted down the roster to put people over.

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Soup, brutha, watch the Islanders matches, brutha, but do so in order. Start with the Islanders heel turn on the Can-Am on Superstars. Islanders "run" Zenk out of the promotion. Then there is back-to-back MSGs with Martel against Tama (incredibly good) and Haku, before Tito gets involved and then they have two kickass tag team matches back-to-back on MSG. It is an amazing between three amazing workers and a pretty good Haku (fuckin' Haku is the low-man in WWF tag that it is a pretty good foursome).

Definitely on my to do list using the spacemountain post as a reference point.

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When I wrote that post, I was like this is just a big bat signal for Parv and jdw to descend onto this thread. Try not to get this thread locked guys. :D :D :P :P Just messing around! But seriously, I do have Martel reviews I still need to post. :D

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Ha ha. I tell you what khawk, I'm about to go and play football now and I'll have a think about not saying any more and leaving my contribution at that. In the meantime, maybe jdw will show up.

 

Just don't get a concussion or you might not remember what you were going to talk about. :)

 

 

(I'll assume you knew I was joking, of course...)

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I just want James to somehow make a bat signal with DiBiase's face on it. :D

Too complicated for him.

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(...that should work) :P

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Agree with Parv, the hierarchy is a really good topic for discussion. It should be made into a separate thread so it doesn't bog down the Martel analysis. As a quick comment with intent on a deeper dive later.

 

Wrestlemania III

 

Top Faces - Hogan, Piper, Steamboat, Jake The Snake, JYD

 

Top Heels - Andre, Savage, Adonis, Honky Tonk, Harley

 

Agree with the faces. On the heel side, I think at this point HTM is bubbling under but is not there yet. In a month and half yes, at this point not yet. In terms of just heat, Danny Davis. Actual active guy, Orndorff was coming off the Hogan feud but was taking time off. Hercules might be an interesting choice, I'd put him ahead of HTM at that moment.

 

Wrestlemania IV

 

Top Faces - Hogan, Savage, Jake The Snake, Warrior, Steamboat

 

Top Heels - Andre, DiBiase, Rude, Honky Tonk

 

On the face side I'd argue Duggan ahead of Warrior and Steamboat at this point in time. Beefcake could also be argued for. One Man Gang could round out the heels, but I'd need to think a bit more if there are any other heel candidates.

 

Wrestlemania V

 

Top Faces - Hogan, Warrior, Jake The Snake, Beefcake,

 

Top Heels - Savage, Rude, Andre, DiBiase, Perfect

 

On the face side Demolition, if you need a singles it's likely Duggan again. On the heel side, too early for Perfect. It should be the Twin Towers, more specifically Bossman.

 

 

Wrestlemania VI

 

Top Faces - Hogan, Warrior, Jake The Snake, Piper, Beefcake/Bossman?

 

Top Heels - Rude, DiBiase, Earthquake, Perfect, Savage/Bad News/Martel?

 

The face side looks right to me, Bossman had recently turned so might rank behind Beefcake. On the heel side, at this point, I'd put Rude, Dibiase, Perfect and Savage as definites. Earthquake was still being built up a bit more but could fit in as number five (I'm not sure of that though).

 

Wrestlemania VII

 

Top Faces - Hogan, Warrior, Jake The Snake, Bossman

 

Top Heels - Slaughter, Savage, Martel, Perfect, DiBiase/Taker?

 

Heat wise Virgil could fit but I wouldn't put him in the top five. I'm leaning towards Duggan (when in doubt go with the Hacksaw?). On the heel side I agree, except I'd drop Taker. Still too new and being built up.

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I will speak on this in a bit, but I don't have many quibbles with what you said.

 

Rick Martel w/Slick vs Bret Hart - Primetime 10/89

 

Martel getting funk with Slick is pretty much why wrestling is better than any form of entertainment. We start early with Martel showboating and dancing. Bret is just shaking his head. Martel cartwheels out of a back body drop attempt and does his little dance. TREMENDOUS~! They do some counter wrestling and Martel proves hes still got it with a cool drop toehold. I am a drop toehold mark. Once again Martel parade s himself. Martel again floats over on Bret in the corner and goes to showboat and Bret has enough and levels him with a clothesline. Fucking brilliant opening that paid itself off excellently with a clothesline. Bret works over the arm and everything loosk crisp as always. Martel is game and keeps him moving and is selling well. Martel thumbs him in the throat, a heel Martel staple, to set up his heat segment, but we dont get all of it because of commerical. Fuck. Martel is just relentlessly working over the back with strikes and a Camel Clutch and lots of well-timed showboating. Incredible struggle over the Boston Crab. Martel tries put it on three times gets spun out twice and each time adds an elbow or backbreaker before he can get it on. I love that sense of struggle really puts over Martels' finish, Bret's will to win and Martel as a wrestler. On each failed attempt, Martel gets frustrated. Just really great work again. Bret makes the ropes, but Martel thinks he has won, before getting more frustarted. Bret powders as Martel does jumping jacks. Ruh roh, pride before the fall. Martel clotheslines the ringpost when he tries to follow Bret out. Bret starts hitting his stock offense and is going for covers after each move trying to get the victory at any moment. Martel takes an excellent over the top turnbuckle and Bret is just pouring on the pinfall attempts. Bret blocks the atomic drop and gets his own. He hits a dropkick as time runs out and it is a draw. The draw was the standard 1989 singles finish for Bret Hart, who really being put in a ton of singles matches with the mid-card heels to build his credibility. Bret's push to the top is the greatest slow-burn push ever by McMahon. I loved the beginning and the middle of this match and the finish was fun, but not at the level of how good the rest of the work was. One of the best Bret singles matches of 89 and a great Martel match.

 

Rick Martel w/Slick vs. Tito Santana - SNME 11/89

 

Lots of "gettin' funky" here with Martel and Slick and then Dusty with cop hat and polka dots all very funny. Martel came out with his Survivor Series team (Twin Towers & HTM) and so Santana said two can play at that game and whistled for his gang (Dusty, Rooster, Beefcake). Can't say I am waiting with bated breath to watch those 8 clash. I will say as most people know this is one helluva SNME sprint. This right up there with Rockers/ Busters as a great SNME sprint as they really come off as two guys that really hate each other. There is sometimes I disconnect in the intensity in the ring in WWF with the hatred surrounding the match. Martel actually initiates instead of being a chickenshit, but Tito catches his foot and swings him around for an atomic drop and a clothesline sends him outside the ring. Now, back in the ring, Martel bitches out for Santana who is cocked and loaded. Tito gets a series of near falls before Martel pulls Santana's tights sending him into the corner. This is when Martel's little dance in between punches is just so great. Tito hits the Flyin' Burrito, but Slick distracts and they tease a Melee.

 

Back from commerical, Martel is working over the back and Martel is really good at showboating. There is something about rather than taking away from the action really adds to how much you want Tito smack this arrogant ass around. There is a epic backslide struggle that Martel loses and his facial expression while going down is priceless. Martel applies the Boston Crab, but Tito makes the ropes. Martel gets a backbreaker (one of his favorite moves as a heel and really smart set-up for the Crab). Martel goes up top, but Tito shakes the ropes and he crotches himself and once again his facial expression is awesome. Tito pounds away before signalling for the Figure-4. This time Tito clocks Slick. Melee ensues. Great energy in this match, I like the work a little better in their Main Event '90 match, but energy and spirit make it a pick 'em between the two.

 

Rick Martel vs Marty Jannetty - Survivor Series Showdown 1990

 

Before the match they show the Martel/Jake angle, which is really excellently done and I actually like Jake coming back with a "glass" eye. The problem is he would have had to sell for the rest of his career, but could have been a cool calling card of his. Martel and Jannetty will be on opposite Survivor Series Teams as Martel's aptly named Visionaries (Vince how you slay me!) take Jake's Vipers. Martel wusses out at first to make Marty look good. They trade moves each doing Jumping Jacks after the move to show each other up. Not on the level of the Rockers/Rougeaus, but some fun opening stuff. Martel gets a knee lift. I am a mark for the knee lift just a great move that works in so many contexts. Martel works over Marty's wind by attacking his throat before charging in with a knee into the the turnbuckle. I will say the one thing holding the Rockers back was that they were not very good at working holds. Martel is better about keeping things moving, but Marty and Shawn were not at their best doing toeholds. So while Martel kept this decent, it did kind of drag here. Martel goes back to the thumb to the throat, one of his favorites. Jannetty counters into a shinbreaker, well-played, another favorite of mine. Jannetty goes for the spinning tohold, but gets kicks to the outside, which starts Martel's heat segment. Martel like always is targeting the back for his Boston Crab. He is such a smart worker. Jannetty catches him coming off second-rope hits his usal babyface comeback offense: reverse elbow and a wicked knee lift. But Martel uses Marty's momentum against him by sidestepping him sending him crashing to the floor. Jannetty, disoriented, misses a slingshot splash and Martel wins. Interestingly, not as definitive as his victory over Santana would be and in fact there was a lot of heel in peril here. Jannetty did a fine job working over the leg and it was a solid match, which they worked in a reason for nicely. Nothing to go out of your way to see, but a decent match nonetheless.

 

Rick Martel vs Tito Santana - Main Event 11/90

 

Martel has dropped Slick and now has what I consider the more classic "Model" look with atomizer and the button that says "I Am A Model" as opposed to just the sweater tied around his neck. I prefer wrestlers with long hair as makes selling and bumping better so I do prefer Martel with longer hair than what he adopted in 1992. Tito is Tito. Besides, RVD cant think of a guy who never changed his look for as long as Tito. We do a little King of the Mountain to start with Martel sending Tito crashing as Martel is definitely position higher on the card than Santana at this point. Martel in his overagression wraps his arm around the ringpost giving Tito an easy bullseye. Tito is all over his arm with some good energetic arm work. Martel is always good for keeping holds moving and never just letting them rest. Tito constantly going for falls. I love the mentality that shows Tito is always trying to win it is great way to remind people it is a competition. Not to get on a tangent, but it is something Bret is really good at it in his matches. Martel does the smae leverage move as the year before to start his heat segment. Martel loved the thumb to the throat which si a great nasty heel move. Martel with one backbreaker feigns going up top, but says nah lets give him one more for good measure. Now he goes to the top, but gets crotched again. Pride before the fall, brutha. Tito is hot and looks to be on comeback trail. Before the absolutely tremendous finish: Tito blocks an atomic drop, picks the leg and goes for a Figure-4 reversed into an inside cradle, and then Martel grabs the Boston Crab for the submission victory. I enjoyed the work a lot in this and the finsh was superb. A heel going over in the WWF clean as a sheet by submission thats a pretty Holy Shit! moment. I believe it is indicative of how high McMahon was on Martel at the time pushing him in the 3rd biggest program of Wrestlemania VII against Jake The Snake.

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Alright. I'll try to keep this as succinct as possible.

 

1. As to the original Perfect / Martel comparison, I don't think Martel was ever as high on the card as Mr. Perfect was. "Midcard heel" probably sells Perfect short a bit, he was an upper midcard heel in the same sort of spot as Rick Rude but one year behind if that makes any sense. Perfect was IC champ and a contender for the world title. Martel was a contender for the IC title.

 

2. This is the point I want to make that is less on the topic of this thread. But I think in this time period that we're looking at, it's not really possible to rank the heels 1, 2, 3, 4.

 

I want to make an analogy. WWF in this period roughly 88-94, was booked like 1960s Batman.

 

Posted Image

 

There are always two faces elevated above the rest. And it's typically Hogan + 1. Your Batman and Robin.

 

1988 - Hogan and Savage

1989 - Hogan and Warrior

1990 - Hogan and Warrior

1991 - Hogan and Warrior / Hogan and Savage

1992 - Hogan and Bret / Bret and Savage

1993 - Hogan and Bret / Luger and Bret

1994 - Luger and Bret / Bret and Undertaker

 

Beneath the top 2 faces, things get a bit more complicated. You have a harder time picking out no. 3 in any given year, at any given time could make arguments for Jim Duggan, Jake, Bossman, Bret, Texas Tornado, the likes of Demolition or Legion of Doom, Bulldog and even Nikolai Volkoff -- yes, I said Nikolai Volkoff!

 

Now the way old 60s Batman worked is that there was a "villain of the week". But 4 super villains were clearly elevated above the rest: Penguin, Joker, Riddler and Catwoman.

 

In the terms of the show, there's no clear number 1 out of the four of them. But each of them are clearly above the likes of Louie the Lilac, King Tutt, Mr. Freeze, Egghead, the Bookworm, Lord Ffog or that infamous outlaw Shame.

 

Now clearly, each of the "lower" super villains was still evil enough to go up against Batman or Robin and they did so, but they'd typically be done after 2 episodes. But the "big four" villains would keep cycling back through. Penguin and Riddler keep coming back for more time and again.

 

Who were the "big four" in WWF?

 

Well Bobby Heenan was clearly one of them for most of the time. I said it before: there are layers of evil in WWF and Heenan simply put was one of the "most evil", a heel could turn against Heenan and automatically become face -- and that happened lots of times. Also he'd never stay down for long, no matter how many times his master plans were foiled by the main two faces, he'd be back with a new plan within a few weeks.

 

Who else was like that? The Million Dollar Man. Another ultimate evil guy who'd be used to turn other heels and who kept coming back for more time and again.

 

Beyond these two who else? The third members of the "big four" simply put is Heenan's main charge at the time: Andre in 88, Rude in 89, Perfect in 90, Flair in 91 and 92. In 93 things change.

 

The fourth -- a bit like actresses who played Catwoman -- is a rotating slot: HTM in 88, Macho King in 89 and 90, Jake in 91, 92 is harder to say (Sid? IRS even? Shawn?), 93 is Lawler

 

Twin Towers, Zeus, Slaughter, Earthquake, Undertaker -- these are your Batman-style "one shot" villains of the week. In for a programme and out again, they don't cycle back through.

 

Things change in 93-4 because Heenan and DiBiase leave and I don't think either of them are properly replaced. Yokozuna is clear top heel, but things are pretty thin behind him. First half of 93 Money Inc are still around, then you've got Lawler, Shawn and now you're really reaching. DiBiase comes back in 94, and even though he's retired comes back as a "big bad", but by this point there's no real "big four" any more, the roster is too thinned out.

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I thought that Bret/Martel match from '89 was all kinds of average. Neither the Bret control segment or the Martel control segment were interesting and just when the finishing stretch was getting interesting it was called a draw. I can see fans of both guys liking this more than me, but I wanted to like it way more than than I did.

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