Jump to content
Pro Wrestling Only

Dave "Fit" Finlay

ohtani's jacket

Recommended Posts

Apparently, Finlay doesn't have his own topic yet. I'm going to concentrate on his European footage, but add whatever you like people.


Dave Finlay vs. Chic Cullen (12/7/83)


This aired on December 31st and was the last WoS match shown in 1983. That was neat of the promoters to let Finlay see out the year given how busy he'd been in 1983, appearing 11 times on television on 10 different shows. Such a large number of television appearances ought to give you an indication of how successful Finlay was early in his career. He really was fantastic from 1981-83. Then, somewhere along the way, he met Paula. This was right at the beginning of their relationship. Finlay was already donning his signature white and green tights, but his hair as still short and Paula hadn't become overbearing yet. I've been kind of down on Cullen lately, but after a tepid beginning to this match where Finlay seemed like another worker that Cullen didn't match up with particularly well, the match suddenly got really good as Cullen pulled finger and looked like the worker that was so good against Rocky Moran and other heels. You can always tell when Walton was legitimately excited and this was one of this occasions. He actually described Cullen as not being in the match to cover for the slowness of the early action and then put over Cullen's flurry of action big time. It was a good read of the match, I thought. Would have liked to have seen the whole thing to get a better feel for the flow, but this was the Finlay that I like. I have some footage of his rivalry with Clive Myers coming up and that will be interesting as I hate Iron Fist era Clive Myers and it's right in the middle of the Princess Paula phase. I'm intrigued by what they'll deliver and how I'll react.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dave Finlay vs. Clive Myers (6/13/84)


This was every bit as bad as I feared. I think it was made worse for me by the fact that Myers/Grey was the gateway drug for me for British Wrestling and in that match you had Myers as the West Indian guy with all these slick moves and awesome mat tricks and then by the end of the 70s he's cashing in on Bruce Lee's popularity and doing all this martial arts, kung fu fighter bullshit. And then you have Finlay getting more and more heat with Princess Paula while all the while wrestling less and less. This was a 15 round title match and joined about half way through with no score, and not much action either. The only matwork on show here was a wrestler's bridge and the odd submission attempt. It was pathetic when you consider pre-Iron Fist Clive Myers and the funky ass shit he did on the mat. But it as over and the crowd was into it, so much so that I actually wondered if it was really a type of new workrate approach to British wrestling where instead of the "boring" matwork you got more all-action, Mark Rocco style wrestling, not that I find there to be a lot of action in Finlay's matches while Paula had her hooks in him. There's a chance (a good one probably) that people would like this more than me since the crowd were into it and some people may love Finlay regardless of which era of his work it is, but the lame finish where Myers came off the top rope one too many times confirmed for me how far this was away from the great British wrestling I love. And this was from 1984, too, which is way too early to start sucking.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dave Finlay vs. Clive Myers (aired 6/29/85)


This had a bit more potential than the last bout as it as one of those 20 minute matches without rounds which are essentially best two-out-of-three falls matches. They did all their schtick which people are either going to like or dislike. I think it's bullshit, but I can see people disagreeing with me. One thing I'll say for Finlay during this era was that he was over and the whole Princess Paula thing drew heat. The crowd liked this.


Dave Finlay vs. Clive Myers (5/21/86)


It says something when you're glad this is only a 10 minute bout. I thought a lightening bout might focus them more, but I can't get behind either of these workers at this point. After the match, they had a best two-out-of-three arm wrestling competition. Myers was a legit arm wrestling champion and you're watching this thing and you expect it to go somewhere, maybe Finlay attacking Myers and beating the shit out of him or something, but no, Myers wins, Finlay's humiliated a bit and that's all that happens. Needless to say, angles weren't British wrestling's strong point.


Dave Finlay vs. Ringo Rigby (7/15/86)


The 80s weren't kind to Rigby. Hard to believe he's the same guy from those early 80s bouts. I actually enjoyed this more than the Myers feud as Finlay beat the crap out of Ringo in a pretty tight match. Serviceable late period TV match.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 10 months later...

Sorry but I thought this pic was especially cool. Dave Finlay Jr tweeted this:





Roughly 21 years ago. I was in a ring before I could stand on my own... And I think dad is giving me hair advice.


Seems to be an aspiring Pro Wrestler with UK work forthcoming. There was a mini-goose bumps moment when he was introduced in the recent Finlay documentary. He the pose of someone who could be really good.


Edit: Ok he is tweeting more:



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

It's kind of too bad Vince had to have that little "youth initiative" fit that took Finlay off of our TVs. It was right at the time where he could have been poised to have a really good feud with either Sheamus or Drew McIntyre. He still had a great run in WWE that no one ever expected, I felt like some of the stuff he did with Rey was MOTYC level work.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

Dave Finlay vs. Roy Scott (4/23/85)


This was supposed to be Finlay vs. Scott McGhee, which would have been a much better bout, but I guess McGhee had left the country or failed to make it to Watford for some reason. Roy Scott is a name that means nothing to me. To be honest, the Crabtrees rolled out a whole host of no-names in the later years as talent began to thin out. They even brought back really old wrestlers, which I thought was a big mistake in light of the competing products. Walton mentioned this was Scott's second time on TV and he actually got four rounds with Finlay here, which seems like a lot, but then Dave liked to methodically wear down an opponent. Another Princess Paula/Finlay showcase more than anything else. There was a big emphasis put on the tombstone piledriver in these quasi-squashes.


The Black Prince vs. Dave Finlay (2/5/85)


The Black Prince was a white guy named Steve Prince who looked like Nigel Mansell and was trying to do a Pat Patton/Kung Fu style gimmick. During the intros he performed a Kendo Nagasaki style sword wielding demonstration. Paula had no fear and got right up in his face despite the katana blade. Apparently, Regal talked about this match on Austin's podcast as for some reason Finlay did not like the Prince one iota and not only sandbagged him the entire bout but was pretty god damn brutal with him. At first it seemed cool because of how stiff Finlay was working, but after a while it was a bit much. Either Prince was the Ricky Morton of Britsh wrestling or the guy was legitimately hurting, and I would suggest the latter. Maybe Finlay had good reason to beat on him, but if it was just some macho crap then Dave comes across as a bit of a jerk.


Dave Finlay vs. The Grasshopper (2/27/86)


The Grasshopper Phil Johnson was a judoka doing yet another kung fu gimmick. He was a little hard to take seriously since he looked like Alan Dennison prancing around in a gi, but it was just eccentric enough that it worked. He got all fired up and did exaggerated kung fu poses and the contrast with Finlay was fun. Dave pulled out the piledriver again, but not before bumping and selling for the Grasshopper a bit, so there must have been something more at play during that Black Prince bout. As a side note, Walton's commentary was continuing to slip here. He missed was essentially the turning point in a rather short bout when Finlay countered Grasshopper's pin attempt with a punch to the face. Grasshopper got all fired up and took off his jacket and Walton thought it was because he was angry with himself for missing the pinfall chance and somehow hurting his head. The only reason I mention it is because prime Walton never missed a beat.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dave Finlay vs The Black Prince (02.05.85)

I decided to give this one a watch on the back of OJ's write up. Finlay starts off with an armlock which Prince reverses and Fit picks him up in a fireman's carry, sits him on the top turnbuckle and gives him a backhander. That alone is the indicator that there is something up, as that just doesn't happen in WOS bouts. An arm lever, an arm wringer and he picks Prince up for a slam but just throws him down. He whips Prince into the ropes and meets him with an elbow to the jaw. Boston crab and Fit's sat down low and pulling the legs back, before giving Prince a punch after the bell for good measure. A chickenwing and Fit's tied him up putting pressure on the jaw. Prince goes to post Finlay but he blocks it, and when Prince tries to chop him he just steps out the way. Toe and ankle hold by Fit, Prince kicks him in the face to release the hold but he just leans backwards out of his reach. Single leg crab and the contorting of Prince continues. Prince breaks out of a nerve hold, whips Finlay into the ropes and meets him with a chop to the chest but Finlay just walks through it. Double leg takedown, folding press and Fit kicks out even before the one count. Finlay posts him twice with force to end the round and Prince has to be helped back to his corner. Straight arm lever against the joint and a leg trip attempt by Prince sees Finlay just stand there. Another careless bodyslam from Fit and Prince headbutts him in the stomach but it gets no sold. Finlay whips him at speed into the ropes and levels him with a super stiff forearm to the jaw. A neck crank, cover and Prince is struggling to get to his feet. Finlay continues to no sell Prince's attacks and offense before a reckless slam sees Prince land heels first. Uppercut and he picks Prince up as if for a slam, but just drops to his knees with Prince's rib's crashing into them for a variation of a stomach breaker. Prince looks in agony at this point, but there's no holding Finlay back and he follows straight up with another nasty looking Boston Crab. Prince tries to power out, but Fit just sits back down on him. Prince can't even get up off the canvas at the end of the round, and round five commences with him not having moved from the end of the previous one. More uppercuts, then Finlay whips him into the ropes, Prince ducks the back elbow but is met with a jumping knee. A final running powerslam and Prince is unable to beat the ten count giving Finlay the KO win. Kent Walton tells us that 'I'm sure we're going to see him (Prince) again', though I'm not sure on that as the broadcast goes off air with Prince still out of it on the canvas.


I'd really like to know the back story to this one. At best Fit is being unprofessional, at worst he's being careless, a bully and taking advantage of someone who doesn't know if he can fight back (this was Prince's TV debut). Finlay took the whole match, no sold Prince's few offensive spots, stiffed him and did everything possible to make him look weak. I have no idea in the slightest what he was trying to achieve with this match.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dave Finlay/Rocky Moran vs. Owen/Ross Hart (aired 3/31/84)


For some reason watching an 18 year old Owen Hart is stranger to me than seeing a teenage Davey Boy or Dynamite Kid. Walton kept calling the Harts the "Ross" family. Moran seemed so timid in this. He did a decent job of carrying young Owen "Ross," albeit with some rather unsubtle whispering in the ear on each posting, but where was the great heel that shone so brightly against Chic Cullen? Finlay was nothing special in this and the bout suffered as a result.


Fit Finlay/Rocky Moran vs. Clive Myers/Kung Fu (11/4/87)


It's setting the bar pretty low, but this wasn't a bad bout for 1987. Finlay was in full on mullet mode, which meant his antics were over the top and he was more interested in heat than he was in grappling, but he was one of the biggest stars on the circuit at this point and it came through loud and clear in the crowd response. Myers and Kung Fu were past their best but could still provide crowd pleasing spots, and it went the entire 20 minutes with no cuts. Moran was again invisible in terms of presence. His pairing with Finlay has been uber disappointing. This was a bout for All-Star so the camera work was a bit more funky and they had a ring announcer that was the British version of Mike Mcguirk. Worth watching if you're a completist.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 7 months later...

Fit Finlay vs. Danny Boy Collins (Reslo 1988)


Finlay has Princess Paula with him here and I like their act from the few other matches I've seen her with him. Finlay does some fish hooking while he has Collins in an armbar and keeps positioning himself away from where the ref can see it. Finlay kind of dominates this match hitting some nice looking moves on Collins including a really nasty looking kneelift. He backs off as Collins fires up but cheapshots him after feigning a handshake. Finlay blocks a sunset flip with a punch that gets treated like a huge thing including a replay. Then Finlay tries to reverse a whip into the corner by jumping off the second turnbuckle but eats a dropkick as he spins back the other way. The crowd goes nuts as Collins takes over for a bit but Finlay breaks the momentum by going over to Princess Paula in the corner. Finlay misses a double kneedrop off the second rope and then gets caught by a top rope crossbody by Collins for a nearfall that the crowd eats up.


Collins won't quit as he keeps getting up and kicks out of a gutwrench suplex. Collins catches Finlay in a powerslam for another nearfall but then goes right back to taking a beating. This is kind of the classic "scrappy underdog is over matched but won't give up" formula. The crowd has a lot of kids and they are really into it every time Collins starts to get some offense. Finlay is on at least kneelift numbert 10 here. They repeat the spot with Finlay jumping off the second turnbuckle after being whipped into the corner but this time he stops short and Collins crashes and burns on his dropkick attempt. Finlay takes off the turnbuckle and smashes Collins' head into it but then Collins blocks the 2nd attempt and Finlay ends up getting a taste of his own medicine. The ref is hilariously exasperated at all of this. Finlay moves as Collins charges at him in the corner and Collins smashes his shoulder which allows Finlay to quickly follow up with an armbar and Collins quickly submits.


Finlay had some really good looking offense and his timing is great. He had some great theatrical selling after Collins blocked the 2nd attempt to smash his head into the exposed turnbuckle. But man this went way too long for what seemed to essentially be an extended squash. This was 13 minutes long and Finlay also did way too many of those jumping kneelifts even if it is his best looking move.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 8 months later...

Dave Finlay vs. Chic Cullen (9/17/87)


This slipped under my radar for years. I figured it was 1987, Finlay was annoying, Cullen hadn't looked good in the stuff I'd seen post-85, it was an All-Star match, and the TV was clipped to shit once All-Star began sharing the bill. But, far from being a throwaway TV match, it was a British Heavy-Middleweight title fight that took up the entire episode of wrestling. Title matches didn't air on TV often but the few that did were stone cold classics. I had high hopes for this when All-Star pulled out all the pageantry that a British promotion could muster in the late 80s. Kellett was pulled out of the crowd to wave at the fans, and Dave Taylor's father and grandfather (famous wrestlers in their own right) were invited to present the winner w/ the title belt. The tension was thick, the pre-match promos solid. Cullen had his fingers taped. Finlay had been hunting him for months. It was a Northern Irishman vs. a Scotsman, and they were ready to go. The great title fights threaten to get out of hand. That's how it was with Rocco and Jones and Ben and Kilby and that's what they teased here. Finlay sauntered up to Cullen and gave him a little nudge to the forehead the way a stag might and Cullen gave him a Scottish kiss. They did this great spot where Finlay tried to follow through on a posting by springboarding off the ropes and Cullen caught him with a dropkick. That fired Cullen up and the crowd.


At that point, I was thinking "this is pretty great." Title matches generally went 12-15 rounds, which meant the workers were legit buggered in the later rounds, so you have to make concessions for that. The ring set-up was weird as well. The match took place in an auditorium and the ring was set up on the stage. What that meant was that any time they fell out of the ring (on the hard camera side) they risked falling off the stage. Finlay took the bump early on, but after that it became a mildly annoying scaffold match style tease and a pesky distraction from the in-ring drama of a title match. Even so, it was shaping up as pretty special for 1987 and I began thinking '87 MOYTC for Europe, but the finish... I'm a believer that you should be able to go over clean in a title match regardless of whether both guys are stars and the winner is a heel. Here they had Cullen save face by having him injure his face. Finlay caught Cullen coming off the ropes with his knees then caught him coming off the ropes with a nasty knee lift. The ref wouldn't let the fight continue and Finlay took the title on a technical knockout. Poor Chic had to sell that his cheekbone was broken, which is a difficult thing to fake with no swelling. I wouldn't say the finish left a bitter taste, but it wasn't the kind of finish you want to see after watching two men wrestle the half hour and put the brakes on it being a stone cold classic.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dave Finlay vs. Chic Cullen (10/15/86)


This was a 20 minute duration contest with two falls, two submissions or a knockout to decider the winner. Many of the spots were familiar from the British Heavy-Middleweight title fight, but Finlay was utterly dominant here. Despite being the champ, Cullen was totally outclassed. He made the briefest of comebacks to take the first fall then the editor did a bit of time shaving by shortening the second session so it looked like Finlay replied straight away. With two minutes remaining, Cullen signaled to the ref that he couldn't come out of his corner for the third session and Finlay won on yet another technical knockout (this time the ribs.) That led to a pretty solid promo from Finlay warning the boys not to mess with the best and claiming that losers are the scrum of the earth, but wouldn't it have made sense for the champ to gut out those final minutes and frustrate Finlay? You'd think so, but this was Dale Martin, not All-Star, and apparently they didn't give a fuck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...