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[1997-07-13-WCW-Bash at the Beach] Chris Jericho vs Ultimo Dragon

Superstar Sleeze

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WCW Crusierweight Champion Chris Jericho vs Ultimo Dragon - WCW Bash At The Beach 1997


Jericho certainly had a penchant for biting off more than he could chew in this time period. The dropkick while on the top rope could have been disastrous and the Super-Rana on Gedo was. Jericho was trying to make a name for himself and I respect that. Hell, WCW was putting him in a position to succeed his WAR buddies and people like Eddie Guerrero. I liked this match warts and all. There are a lot of warts in the form of blown spots, but this dripped with effort and was very competitive something that has been missing from previous Dragon matches. I really felt the competitive rivalry in the form of the chippiness of some of the back elbows and the kicks. The opening babyface mirror matwork spots were fun until they got to the passe dropkick each other spot, which got them no applause. Good on on you Florida, don't encourage that bullshit. I was always a mark for the Dragon headstand in the corner and I liked it as the transition here. A lot of the work revolves around them knowing each other well so you get a lot of them going the extra mile to sucker their opponent in or using a dropkick as a counter. Dragon's kicks look great and he seems much more invested in winning this match than showing off. Jericho is here to win and make a statement and his double powerbomb is the perfect move to accomplish both goals. A great familiarity spot is Dragon does his usual floatover in the corner and Jericho keeps running to hit a quebrada off the turnbuckles. Jericho knew what was coming and leveraged it for the upper hand. They struggle on the top rope and Dragon bails before Jericho dropkicks him. I think that was pretty wise by Dragon and Tony & The Brain agree. Jericho follows that up by wiping him out with a springboard shouldertackle to the floor. Jericho was vanilla as fuck as a character, but he was trying his damnedest to get over with his in-ring work. It does get a little too move tradey down the stretch as everyone starts hitting dropkicks to counter and Dusty points out all these counters are great, but you got to get to the pay windah. I agree there is competitive and then there is is just oversaturation and the counters become inconsequential. The spot that really sticks out is when Jericho goes for the springboard shoudlerblock again and Drago side-steps him that was one helluva bump to set up the Asai Moonsault. Loved, loved Jericho doing a Lionsault when Dragon setting up a dropdown-run the ropes-tackle spot. That was the little shit that throws you off and makes me pop. Lionsault does not get it done. Jericho wriggles free of the Tiger Suplex and Dragon Sleeper. Dragon snaps off a quick hurricanarana, but his own momentum takes him over and Jericho scores the victory. There were too many cool, unique spots to not call this less than very good and it all worked in the context of two familiar, competitive rivals. Tighten up the match and connect with all the spots and this would have been a classic. As is, it is a very good unheralded WCW babyface vs babyface crusierweight match. ***3/4

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